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Round 20 of the NRL season continues tonight as the South Sydney Rabbitohs host the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match starting from 7:55pm (AEST).
It’s no wonder Wayne Bennett and Trent Robinson have named close to full-strength sides for this traditional clash. The top eight may be decided but the finishing order is still up for grabs.
There’s no doubt the Rabbits’ form has improved in the back half of the season. That was until last week, when they were upset by the Bulldogs. We will write that loss off as a one-off, but there is no doubt they will need to improve significantly to beat the Roosters.
Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds have combined well lately, which is allowing Damien Cook to get a little more freedom around the rucks. Tom Burgess continues to punch out strong numbers every week.
Dane Gagai returns from suspension in place of Steven Marsters in the centre role. Jed Cartwright starts for the suspended Jaydn Su’A, and Pat Mago gets a spot in the 17.
Good teams can win when down on troops, and that’s exactly what the Roosters did last week against the Sharks. Trent Robinson has his systems in place, and the Roosters play to his style no matter who is on the field.
Luke Keary is in superlative form right now. If there is a better five-eighth in the NRL right now, please point him out. Sonny Bill Williams has shown enough in limited minutes for us to know that he will be a factor in the finals.
James Tedesco, Jake Friend, Boyd Cordner and Siosiua Taukeiaho all return, while Joey Manu, Lindsay Collins and Isaac Liu get a rest. Lachlan Lam replaces Drew Hutchison on the bench.
Rabbits-Roosters matches are always keenly contested affairs and this one will be no different. However, the Roosters are ready for a long run in the finals and would see this as a perfect lead-up game. They’ll be too good in this one.
Roosters by ten
Kick-off: 7:55pm (AEST)
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
TV: Nine, Fox Sports
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel, NRL Live Pass
Odds: Roosters $1.25, Rabbitohs $4
1. Corey Allan, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Jaxson Paulo, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Liam Knight, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Tom Burgess, 11. Jed Cartwright, 12. Bayley Sironen, 13. Cameron Murray
Bench/Reserves: 14. Mark Nicholls, 15. Hame Sele, 16. Patrick Mago, 17. Keaon Koloamatangi, 18. Tevita Tavola, 19. Jack Johns, 20. Troy Dargan, 21. Cory Denniss
1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Mitchell Aubusson, 5. Brett Morris, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9. Jake Friend, 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Angus Crichton
Bench/Reserves: 14. Lachlan Lam, 15. Poasa Faamausili, 16. Nat Butcher, 17. Sonny Bill Williams, 18. Matt Ikuvalu, 19. Daniel Fifita, 20. Freddy Lussick, 21. Ryan Hall