Roosters Eye Another Decider

Picture: Sam Ruttyn/dailytelegraph.com.au
Mitch Pearce has been criticised for underperforming in big games in the past. Picture: Sam Ruttyn/dailytelegraph.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 20, 2013 – Sydney Roosters 28 d Newcastle Knights 12 at Hunter Stadium
Round 9, 2012 – Sydney Roosters 24 d Newcastle Knights 6 at Allianz Stadium
Round 16, 2011 – Newcastle Knights 18 d Sydney Roosters 10 at Hunter Stadium
Round 11, 2011- Sydney Roosters 12 d Newcastle Knights 10 at Allianz Stadium
Round 10, 2010 - Newcastle Knights 34 d Sydney Roosters 18 at Bluetongue Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 24    Rd 25    Rd 26    FW1    FW2 
Roosters

L

L

W

W

-

Knights

L

W

W

W

W


The Roosters  will be looking to reach the NRL decider for the second time in four seasons when they meet the Knights  in the NRL’s second preliminary final at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night. The minor premiers earnt a week off with a hard fought 4-0 victory over Manly in week one of the finals but will have their work cut out against a Knights outfit that has charged into the final four with four consecutive victories.

Roosters boss Trent Robinson has been a revelation in his first year at the club, lifting his side from 13th last year to the top of the three in less than twelve months. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to a strong forward pack and he welcomes Jared Waerea-Hargreaves back into the fold this week, after the front rower served a one-week suspension that ruled him out of the game against the Sea Eagles a fortnight ago. His return forces Luke O’Donnell back onto a six-man interchange bench which also contains Isaac Liu and the four men that started on the bench against Manly. Boyd Cordner won't be a late inclusion after failing a fitness test on Friday.

New South Wales winger James McManus was named to return for Newcastle after missing last week’s shock 18-16 victory over the Storm in Melbourne with an ankle injury but has been ruled out, with Kevin Naiqama set to start on the left flank in his absence again. Halfback Tyrone Roberts has been cleared to play despite picking up what initially appeared to be a serious knee injury against Melbourne last weekend.


1st Tryscorer

Daniel Tupou  has failed to get on the scoresheet in his past two NRL matches but showed the rest of the competition what he can do by scoring six tries in five matches at the end of the regular season. The 22 year-old has a great leap on him and his aerial battle with Akuila Uate will be one to savour.

Akuila Uate  opened the scoring against the Storm last weekend to take his tally to three tries from as many matches since failing to score against the Broncos in round 25. Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts made a point of kicking to his wing in Melbourne and are likely to employ the same tactic against the Roosters.


Prediction

The Roosters were comprehensive 28-12 victors the only time these sides met during the regular season but won’t be underestimating what the Knights can do going into this match. Wayne Bennett’s troops weren’t expected to beat the Bulldogs or Storm but defied the odds to do so and now find themselves in their first preliminary final since 2001. This could be the end of the road however, with the Roosters likely to benefit from a week’s break, while two tough games are sure to have taken a toll on Newcastle. Sydney Roosters by 12

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