NRL Finals Team Announcements: Some Familiar Faces Return As Big-Name Stars Miss Out

Sponsored by TAB
Sponsored by TAB
NRL Finals Team Announcements: Some Familiar Faces Return As Big-Name Stars Miss Out

SEMI FINAL: MANLY SEA EAGLES vs SYDNEY ROOSTERS (odds correct as of 14/09/21)

H2H: Sea Eagles ($1.38) vs Roosters ($3.60)

Line: Sea Eagles (-10.5 @ $1.90) vs Roosters (+10.5 @ $1.90)

Date: Friday, 17 September

Time: 7.50pm

Venue: BB Print Stadium, Mackay

For all your latest TAB odds on the Sea Eagles vs Roosters, CLICK HERE.

MANLY SEA EAGLES

Ins: Lachlan Croker, Tevita Funa, Toafofoa Sipley

Outs: N/A

  1. Tom Trbojevic
  2. Jason Saab
  3. Brad Parker
  4. Morgan Harper
  5. Reuben Garrick
  6. Kieran Foran
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans
  8. Josh Aloiai
  9. Lachlan Croker
  10. Martin Taupau
  11. Haumole Olakau'atu
  12. Josh Schuster
  13. Jake Trbojevic
  14. Dylan Walker
  15. Karl Lawton
  16. Sean Keppie
  17. Taniela Paseka

SYDNEY ROOSTERS

Ins: Ben Marschke, Ben Thomas, Nat Butcher, Naufahu Whyte

Outs: Siosiua Taukeiaho

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Daniel Tupou
  3. Josh Morris
  4. Adam Keighran
  5. Matt Ikuvalu
  6. Lachlan Lam
  7. Drew Hutchison
  8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  9. Sam Verrills
  10. Isaac Liu
  11. Angus Crichton
  12. Sitili Tupouniua
  13. Victor Radley
  14. Sam Walker
  15. Nat Butcher
  16. Egan Butcher
  17. Fletcher Baker

KEY MATCH-UPS:

Jake Trbojevic vs Victor Radley

Granted, it was an agonisingly-tight game against the Titans in Week 1, but it's hard to deny that the Sydney Roosters didn't look like a new team with 'Victor The Inflictor' in the side. Back in the No.13 jumper after serving out his suspension, Radley brought a new dimension to the Chooks. His ability as a first receiver instantly brought James Tedesco into the game more and his aggression in defence meant he topped the tackle count with 47 under his belt. And despite appearing to pick up a shoulder injury early on, the 23-year-old shook it off to set up a try for teammate James Tedesco in the second half. Meanwhile, his opposite number for the Sea Eagles is starting to hit the ground running at just the right time. The week before their preliminary final defeat to the Storm, Manly lock Jake Trbojevic bagged his first tries of the season in the 46-18 demolition job on the Cowboys. Last weekend, he wasn't able to come up with the same attacking threat, although his defensive work was as good as ever which saw him produce the most tackles out of any player on the pitch (48). This is a battle of the ball-playing, big-hitters who will undoubtedly play a massive role in getting their teams on the front foot both offensively and defensively.

Tom Trbojevic vs James Tedesco

It's hard to look past arguably the two biggest stars in the sport right now as the key battle in this game. 15 matches, 25 tries, 7.67 tackle busts per game, 30 try assists and 188 average run metres. Those stats indicate that Tom Trbojevic may well have produced the greatest solo season we've ever witnessed from a fullback. Yet still, he was unable to carry that red-hot form into the first week of the finals. While Turbo did top the run metres for Manly against the Storm, notching up a total of 151, his attacks in the final quarter of the field were completely nullified by Melbourne's resolute defence. Interestingly, he touched the ball just 17 times throughout the defeat compared to his season average of 35. So with Ryan Papenhuyzen easily winning the battle of the fullbacks last weekend, Trbojevic will want to prove his doubters wrong against arguably the best No.1 in the competition come Friday night. When we look back at Trbojevic's 2021 NRL season it'll go down in history as one of the best, but Tedesco is still widely considered to be the premier man for the job in the No.1 jersey ­- just ask NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler. Even in a heavily-depleted Roosters side, Tedesco is still pulling together insane numbers. Last weekend against the Gold Coast Titans, Teddy had five tackle busts, ran for 177 metres, got two assists and even bagged a try - and that was on a relatively quiet day.

BEST BETS (odds correct as of 14/08/21):

First try scorer:

Tom Trbojevic (MAN) - $7.50

Jason Saab (MAN) - $7.50

Reuben Garrick (MAN) - $8

Daniel Tupou (SYD) - $13

Matt Ikuvalu (SYD) - $13

James Tedesco (SYD) - $18

Anytime try scorer:

Tom Trbojevic (MAN) - $1.60

Jason Saab (MAN) - $1.60

Reuben Garrick (MAN) - $1.65

Daniel Tupou (SYD) - $2.50

Matt Ikuvalu (SYD) - $2.15

James Tedesco (SYD) - $3

Sam Verrills is hoping to get a grade-two careless high tackle charge downgraded which would allow him to play. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
Sam Verrills is hoping to get a grade-two careless high tackle charge downgraded which would allow him to play. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

SEMI FINAL: PENRITH PANTHERS vs PARRAMATTA EELS (odds correct as of 14/09/21)

H2H: Panthers ($1.22) vs Eels ($4.20)

Line: Panthers (-12.5 @ $1.95) vs Eels (+12.5 @ $1.85)

Date: Saturday, 18 September

Time: 7.50pm

Venue: BB Print Stadium, Mackay

For all your latest TAB odds on the Panthers vs Eels, CLICK HERE.

PENRITH PANTHERS

Ins: Brent Naden, Dylan Edwards, Moses Leota, Scott Sorensen, Tyrone May

Outs: Charlie Staines, Matthew Eisenhuth

  1. Dylan Edwards
  2. Stephen Crichton
  3. Paul Momirovski
  4. Matt Burton
  5. Brian To'o
  6. Jarome Luai
  7. Nathan Cleary
  8. Moses Leota
  9. Apisai Koroisau
  10. James Fisher-Harris
  11. Viliame Kikau
  12. Kurt Capewell
  13. Isaah Yeo
  14. Mitch Kenny
  15. Scott Sorensen
  16. Tevita Pangai Junior
  17. Liam Martin
The returning Ryan Matterson has been named on the bench for the Eels. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
The returning Ryan Matterson has been named on the bench for the Eels. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

PARRAMATTA EELS

Ins: Jake Arthur, Oregon Kaufusi, Ryan Matterson

Outs: N/A

  1. Clinton Gutherson
  2. Haze Dunster
  3. Will Penisini
  4. Waqa Blake
  5. Blake Ferguson
  6. Dylan Brown
  7. Mitchell Moses
  8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  9. Ray Stone
  10. Junior Paulo
  11. Shaun Lane
  12. Marata Niukore
  13. Will Smith
  14. Isaiah Papali'i
  15. Bryce Cartwright
  16. Ryan Matterson

KEY MATCH-UPS:

Blake Ferguson vs Brian To'o

It's simple: On their given day, these two can singlehandedly win your side a game. Giving their forwards a break with crucial metre-eating runs aside, it's their try-scoring ability which sets this duo apart and makes that running duel down the wing a fascinating one. For Ferguson, his error count seems to be decreasing from game-to-game. Under the high ball, he has come on leaps and bounds and his finishing is still considered one of the best in the NRL. Standing across the pitch from Fergo, though, is perhaps the best winger in the league this season. Granted, he was unable to cross the line for a try during the loss to the Bunnies, but he still finished the game with 185 metres. Oh, and having a five-eighth in disguise by the name of Matt Burton playing on your inside isn't too bad either.

Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai vs Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown

Last weekend, the Bunnies were good. But if truth be told, the Panthers were very, very poor. Penrith were left licking their wounds after they were stunned by Souths in their preliminary final defeat. And during the post-mortem, all fingers were pointed at the halves. Yes, star halfback Cleary was brilliant from the boot - kicking for 243 metres in the first half alone - but when it came to making magic happen with the ball-in-hand, he failed to deliver. As for the bloke standing beside him, he had a night to forget. Quickly emerging as one of the most dynamic five-eighths in the comp this year, Jarome Luai looked anything but against the Rabbitohs. We're used to seeing him suddenly inject himself into plays which can often tip games on their heads, although last weekend he went missing. If the premiership-hungry Panthers stand any hope of exacting revenge and making up for last year's Grand Final hurt, then these two in the spine will need to start producing the same form which saw them both star for New South Wales in a dominant State of Origin series win. Glancing over at the Eels' halves, and they weren't at their free-flowing best last Sunday either - well, at least one of them wasn't. In Parramatta's upset victory over the Storm a few weeks back, No.6 Dylan Brown gave us a glimpse of what he's really capable of with Eels captain Clint Gutherson describing his performance as "one of the best games he has played in a long time... or ever". Against the Knights, he was alright - but still miles off his brilliant best. Thankfully, his halves partner was on hand to drag the Eels to the semi-finals with another talismanic solo display. Mitchell Moses ended the game with 93 run metres four tackle busts, a linebreak, a linebreak assist, a try assist and a meat pie of his own. With the Eels seeking to end their 35-year Premiership drought in the coming weeks, Moses looks like he's on a one-man mission to help the team do it.

BEST BETS (odds correct as of 14/08/21):

First try scorer:

Brian To'o (PEN) - $7

Stephen Crichton (PEN) - $8

Matt Burton (PEN) - $11

Blake Ferguson (PAR) - $13

Haze Dunster (PAR) - $15

Waqa Blake (PAR) - $19

Anytime try scorer:

Brian To'o (PEN) - $1.65

Stephen Crichton (PEN) - $1.72

Matt Burton (PEN) - $2.30

Blake Ferguson (PAR) - $2.50

Haze Dunster (PAR) - $2.60

Waqa Blake (PAR) - $3.30

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Topics: NRL Finals, Penrith Panthers, Injury news, Team News, Parramatta Eels, Rugby League, nrl, Australia, Sydney Roosters

Max Sherry
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