Sydney Roosters will be looking to kick on from last weekend’s win over New Zealand Warriors in a bid to reach the play-offs and they could take advantage of a weakened Melbourne Storm.
Melbourne’s ranks might be thin this week without their star trio of Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, along with rising centre Dane Nielsen, but their line-up is brimming with star quality compared with the Roosters’ decimated ranks.
At last count the Roosters were missing 13 first-graders through a combination of injury, misadventure and State of Origin selection and officials were forced to seek salary cap relief in order to send a team south this week.
Interchange Brad Takairangi will be the 29th player to appear for the Roosters this season if he takes the field on Monday night and among his team-mates are virtual unknowns such as Rhys Pritchard (fullback), Boyd Cordner (second row) and Willie Mataka (centre).
In view of their grim plight it is surprising that the Roosters can still name an experienced core of players around halves Braith Anasta and Todd Carney, prop Jason Ryles and Kiwi winger Sam Perrett, who returns after a long lay-off with a broken ankle.
Look for Melbourne to score a try as First Scoring Play but consider a Storm/Roosters or Roosters/Storm result in the Half/Full Double.
Best hopes for First Tryscorer are Justin O’Neill, Sisa Waqa or Maurice Blair for Melbourne or Todd Carney, Joseph Leilua or Justin Carney for the Roosters.
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