Coming off a heartbreaking loss on Anzac Day, the Sydney Roosters will have to turn the corner quickly if they are to defeat the Newcastle Knights and continue their positive start to the season. Join us for live scores and commentary from 3.00pm AEST.
In a season full of ups and downs, the Roosters produced their best performance of the year against the Dragons on ANZAC Day.
For all their energy in attack and defence however, Sydney failed to play for the full eighty minutes and were punished severely, as St George Illawarra escaped with a 28-24 victory.
It will be interesting to see how such a loss affects a Roosters outfit that makes do with the youngest roster in the NRL.
Brian Smith’s men were clearly fired up in front of a capacity crowd on ANZAC Day so it may not surprise to see the Roosters start a little slowly against Newcastle today, despite the long turnaround.
This is a massive danger game for the Roosters, given the fact that the Knights are also coming off a strong victory against Penrith.
But Newcastle is not without its own issues, with captain Kurt Gidley ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Danny Buderus is also sitting on the sidelines due to an achilles problem.
The result of this match will largely rest on whether or not the Roosters can replicate the same intensity and level of play they displayed against the Dragons on ANZAC Day.
Roosters halves Mitchell Pearce and Braith Anasta were superb last week while Anthony Minichiello and Jake Friend tormented the Dragons up the middle of the park.
Young forwards Martin Kennedy, Mitchell Aubusson, Aiden Guerra and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves also played well against a strong Dragons pack.
At their best, the Roosters ball movement can cause any defence numerous problems and the Knights will have to be on their toes if Sydney plays sharply early on.
However, there is also a significant chance that the Roosters will have failed to move on from their defeat to the Dragons, and if so, Newcastle could easily rack up a score this afternoon.
Despite missing Gidley, the Knights still possess the attacking weaponry necessary to post points.
Halfback Jarred Mullen produced his best performance of the year against the Panthers on Monday night and will be desperate to get the better of fellow New South Wales Origin hopeful Mitchell Pearce today.
Out wide, Timana Tahu and James McManus are beginning to combine nicely for Newcastle and the Roosters edge defence could be in for a long afternoon if these two players are given room to manoeuvre.
Overall, this could be a high scoring contest between two teams desperate to stay inside the top eight.
If the Roosters can just respect possession and fork out territory like they did last week against the Dragons, then it may be enough to beat Newcastle at home in a close encounter.
Roosters by 6.
Can the Roosters atone for ANZAC Day? Find out from 3.00pm AEST as we cover action with live scores and commentary and if you’re watching, give us your thoughts in the space below.