A cracking contest awaits as minor premiers the Sydney Roosters clash against rivals the Manly Sea Eagles for the right to host a preliminary final in two weeks time. Join us for live scores and commentary from 7.00pm AEST.
The Roosters head into their first finals match since 2010 in superb form after beating the Rabbitohs 24-12 last week.
In front of just under 60,000 fans, Sydney outplayed and outmuscled South Sydney en route to securing their first minor premiership since 2004.
More importantly, Roosters stars James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Anthony Minichiello and Sonny-Bill Williams played superbly and returned to form after below par performances against Gold Coast and Cronulla respectively.
The Roosters will have to be at their best again if they are to defeat a Manly side coming off a surprise loss to Penrith at Brookvale Oval.
Despite racing to a 16 nil lead, the Sea Eagles uncharacteristically took their foot of the pedal and allowed the Panthers to come back and secure a 38-26 victory.
While such a loss would not have pleased coach Geoff Toovey, the Sea Eagles should be expected to turn up with their best form tonight against the Roosters, especially with Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua and Anthony Watmough back in the fold.
The Roosters have already defeated Manly twice this season and both those victories were built on the back of superb defensive performances.
The tricolours were once again back to their defensive best last week against the Rabbitohs as they constantly rushed the likes of Adam Reynolds and John Sutton in attack.
Expect the Roosters to once again rush up in defence in a bid to unsettle key attacking stars Daly Cherry-Evans, Keiran Foran, Jamie Lyon and the Stewart brothers.
The Roosters must also stick to the same direct game plan that served them so well against South Sydney.
When Sydney’s forwards rolled up their sleeves and focused on making yardage, Trent Robinson’s men invariably dominated the contest against South Sydney as evidenced by the back to back tries the Roosters managed to score in the first and second half.
If forwards Williams, Aidan Guerra, Martin Kennedy, Sam Moa and Frank Paul Nuuausala can reproduce the strong form they showed against the Rabbitohs, then the Roosters will go a long way to matching and perhaps dominating a very strong Manly pack.
The Roosters will also have to keep an eye on their discipline given that they were once again on the end of a lopsided penalty count against South Sydney.
Manly are a class outfit and really don’t need too many invitations to make the opposition pay on the scoreboard.
If the Roosters fail to keep their discipline in check tonight, Manly stars Cherry-Evans, Foran, Lyon and the Stewart brothers will most likely put Sydney to the sword.
With no love lost between these two great rivals, tonight’s contest promises to one of the most physical and entertaining matches of the year.
Having come off a morale boosting victory over South Sydney, the Roosters should be expected to fire in front of a big home crowd and secure victory in a nail biting contest.
Roosters by 4