Luke Brooks v Mitchell Pearce
It has been a relatively strong start to the year for halfback Luke Brooks, who has scored five tries in eight games - including a double in his last start against the Bulldogs. The 20-year-old playmaker was close to playing representative football last weekend; however he was ruled out of the City-County clash in Wagga Wagga with a corked thigh.
Mitchell Pearce has a formidable record against Wests Tigers, winning nine out of 12 games while also scoring nine tries along the way. At just 26-years-of-age, Pearce is closing in on 200 NRL games and will be out reclaim his NSW Origin jersey this year with a strong performance this week.
Brooks and Pearce were teammates earlier this year in the NRL All Stars match; however Friday’s match will see the pair go head-to-head in an important game for both clubs. Pearce will look to lead his side out of a four-match losing streak, while Brooks will look to keep Wests Tigers in the top eight with his first career win against the Roosters.
Brooks: “(James) Maloney had a great game on the weekend for Country and both he and Pearce will want to push their claims for Origins spots. It’s going to be tough for us because they are coming into a bit of form at this time of the year.”
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 2 – Brooks 0, Pearce 2
NRL Fantasy Prices: Brooks $246,000 (Season: +$25,000; Average: 30.3), Pearce $401,000 (Season: +$26,000; Average: 49.5)
Robbie Farah v Jake Friend
Robbie Farah has played just one match against the Roosters over the past three seasons, with last season’s 48-4 loss at Leichhardt Oval his first game against the tri-colours since Round 20, 2011. It’s an important two-week period for the NSW Origin rake, as he looks to leave his side in a good position ahead of the series opener which will result in him missing the Club’s Round 11 game against North Queensland.
Jake Friend has only lost two out of eight career games against Wests Tigers and is already closing in on 150 NRL games at just 25-years-of-age. The Queensland-born hooker has suffered an injury-interrupted start to the year, managing just three games so far in 2015.
It’s always an intense battle between these two fierce competitors with both Farah and Friend known for their high work-rate in defence and their ability to capitalise on quick play-the-balls. Look out for plenty of creativity around the ruck in this one, as two of the game’s best number nines come up against one another.
Farah: “The Roosters have obviously been a bit unlucky over the past few weeks and they will be looking for a win back at home. It’s always a tough game when you come up against a team like the Roosters, it’s not very often that they lose three or four in a row so I’m sure they will be up for a big one. In saying that, it’s a great challenge for us because they are one of the benchmarks of the competition despite how they are travelling at the moment.”
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 4 – Farah 2, Friend 2
NRL Fantasy Prices: Farah $491,000 (Season: -$97,000; Average: 58.8), Friend $459,000 (Season: -$18,000; Average: 56.7)
James Tedesco v Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Called into the City Origin side for the second time in his career, James Tedesco put in a gallant performance in a losing side; scoring a try and setting up another in the annual fixture. With eight tries in as many NRL games this year, the Camden Rams junior sits second on the leading try-scorers list.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is the NRL’s leading metre-maker with an astonishing 1881 in eight games (235 metres per match); 300 metres clear of the next best player in the competition. The Kiwi International has signed as Sam Tomkins’ replacement at the New Zealand Warriors next season after four successful years in the top grade with the Roosters.
In what is yet another exciting match-up at Allianz Stadium tomorrow night, Tedesco and Tuivasa-Sheck go head-to-head for the just the second time in their relatively short, but exciting, careers. Both players possess an abundance of speed and great agility, so look out for an electrifying encounter between two of the game’s most exciting fullbacks.
Tedesco: “I think the Roosters will come out all guns blazing, they’ve got a very good team across the park and a lot of representative players. A lot of them were with the Kiwi side on the weekend and will take confidence from that win over the Aussies. They are a danger to play at any time of the year.”
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 1 – Tedesco 0, Tuivasa-Sheck 1
NRL Fantasy Prices: Tedesco $390,000 (Season: +$48,000; Average: 47.8), Tuivasa-Sheck $367,000 (Season: +$46,000; Average: 45.4)