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Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Preview and Team News - Bitter rivals clash in blockbuster opening round

Andrew Hendrie 13 Mar 2019
  • Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs clash in Round 1 of the NRL on Friday night
  • Roosters have won six of their last seven meetings
Roosters and Rabbitohs meet on Friday

Traditional rivals Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs lock horns in a blockbuster NRL opening round showdown at the SCG on Friday night.

If anything, the Roosters have strengthened their side since beating Melbourne to win the premiership last season - can they begin their title defence with a victory over their main rivals?

The two main departures of the Roosters’ Grand Final winning team were Blake Ferguson and Dylan Napa, but they’ve arguably brought in better players in the form of Brett Morris, who will start on the wing, and Angus Crichton, who will make his Roosters debut off the bench against his former club

Blessed with arguably the best backline in the competition - including James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Cooper Cronk - the Roosters are as good a chance as any team in the last 25 years or so to secure back-to-back premierships this season.

Meanwhile, Wayne Bennett will be relishing the opportunity to test his Rabbitohs side against the best in the business straight off the bat.

It will be very interesting to see how Bennett fares at South Sydney, especially considering how well Anthony Seibold did at the club last season, guiding them to the preliminary finals.

Braidon Burns starts at centre for the Rabbitohs, with Dane Gagai shifting to the wing and new signings Ethan Lowe and Corey Allan on the bench.

The Roosters have been dominant over the Rabbitohs in recent fixtures, and I think they’ll emerge victorious again on Friday night. Trent Robinson’s side don’t have a weakness, and if they avoid complacency, I think they can go all the way again this season. The Rabbitohs will keep it close, but the Roosters’ class should prevail in the end.

Stats


  • Roosters have won six of their last seven meetings
  • Roosters won 12-4 in their last clash in the finals last season
  • Their last four matches have been decided by a 1-12 margin

Teams


Roosters: 1 James Tedesco 2 Daniel Tupou 3 Latrell Mitchell 4 Joseph Manu 5 Brett Morris 6 Luke Keary 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9 Jake Friend (c) 10 Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11 Boyd Cordner (c) 12 Mitchell Aubusson 13 Victor Radley. Interchange: 14 Isaac Liu 15 Zane Tetevano 16 Lindsay Collins 17 Angus Crichton. Reserves: 18 Nat Butcher 19 Matthew Ikuvalu 20 Lachlan Lam 21 Poasa Faamausili

Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston 2 Dane Gagai 3 Greg Inglis (c) 4 Braidon Burns 5 Campbell Graham 6 Cody Walker 7 Adam Reynolds 8 Tevita Tatola 9 Damien Cook 10 Tom Burgess 11 John Sutton 12 Sam Burgess 13 Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14 Liam Knight 15 Mark Nicholls 16 Ethan Lowe 17 Corey Allan. Reserves: 18 Kyle Turner 19 Connor Tracey 20 Rhys Kennedy 21 Mawene Hiroti

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Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Preview and Team News - Bitter rivals clash in blockbuster opening round

Traditional rivals Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs lock horns in a blockbuster NRL opening round showdown at the SCG on Friday night.

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