Sydney Roosters will look to build their case for a Premiership defence when they host Canberra Raiders on Saturday night. Both sides are hoping to use the Origin period to their advantage as others around them count the cost Wednesday nights epic in Brisbane.
The Roosters have their first choice halves available, and they responded by leading their side to victory over the Bulldogs last weekend. After New South Wales’ win in game one James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce will be keen to step up again and not be forgotten should any injuries hit the Blues.
Sonny Bill Williams also looked back to his best form from 2013 against the Bulldogs. The Roosters will be looking to their big players to replicate the strong run in the second half of last season that ultimately led them to a sweep of the silverware.
Given the losses sustained by other clubs – most notably Melbourne Storm – the Roosters will be grateful that Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou and Aidan Guerra appear to have emerged from the Origin game unscathed. All three have been named in the squad, although fatigue may see late changes made by Trent Robinson.
The Raiders thrashed an under strength North Queensland Cowboys last week to give a much needed boost to their season. However, there is only so far you can go while you have the worst defence in the competition. Inconsistency has been a problem for a team that has been able to beat the likes of the Rabbitohs and Storm earlier in the year.
Josh Papalii looks likely to back up after an impressive game for Queensland on Wednesday night. Canberra have an awful record at Allianz Stadium, with only one win at the venue since 1995.
Saturday 31st May, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 17:30
Sydney Roosters v Canberra Raiders