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NRL: Roosters and Rabbitohs ready to rumble

It does not get much bigger than the Sydney Roosters versus the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on Friday night and as usual fireworks are expected.

The rivalry is fierce to say the least as there is no love lost between these two sides. They are two hugely talented sides and if you throw in the aggression as well then we have all the ingredients for a classic.

Both sides have also won one and lost one of their opening two games and can ill-afford to lose another this early into the season. 

Meanwhile the Dolphins are out to make it three wins from three when they face the Knights in the Hunter. Following two games on home soil, backed by the big, vocal home support, the trip to take on the Knights will be their biggest test yet. But do not rule out Wayne Bennett and co pulling off another surprise win. 

With the action on Friday night fast approaching, let’s take a closer look at all the team news coming out of both camps.

What:Newcastle Knights v The Dolphins
Where:McDonald Jones Stadium
When:18:00 (AEST) Friday 17th March 2023
How to watch:Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Knights 2.50, Dolphins 1.54

Knights missing key men

The Newcastle Knights have been hit by an injury crisis heading into the clash against the Dolphins with as many as six players ruled out.

The Knights got their season up and running with a massive win over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval last week, but the victory came at a cost. The biggest blow was the loss of Kalyn Ponga to concussion.

Ponga was playing just his second game in his new role at five-eighth when he took yet another whack to the head.

Jayden Brailey was another player to suffer a concussion, thus ruling him out against the Dolphins, while Tyson Frizzell suffered an ankle injury.

Just to make matters even worse, Jacob Saifiti has been ruled out through suspension, meaning coach Adam O’Brien has struggled to get a side out on to the pitch. 

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Tyson Gamble is the man to come in and take the No.6 jersey, replacing Ponga, with Phoenix Crossland playing at hooker. Brodie Jones gets the call-up to come into the side while Jack Hetherington will play at prop forward.

Ryan Rivett and Dylan Lucas are set to make their debuts from the bench, while Mat Croker will also be on the bench after serving his suspension.

The Dolphins have made a stunning start to the season with back-to-back wins but now face another big test as they hit the road for the first time.

Bennett’s men have suffered a setback with the loss of the impressive Jeremy Marshall-King, who has been hit with a two-game suspension.

It means Kodi Nikorima is the new Dolphin’s No.9 for this clash. Ray Stone is named on the bench after recovering from a knee injury.

What:Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Where:Allianz Stadium
When:20:00 (AEST) Friday 17th March 2023
How to watch:Channel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Roosters 2.20, Rabbitohs 1.68

Star men return for Roosters and Bunnies

It does not get any bigger for Friday night footy in the NRL than the Roosters versus the Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium.

The last time these two sides met was in finals at the end of last season, a game that saw seven players sent to the sin bin and the Bunnies edging to victory.

Similar fireworks can be expected on Friday night despite it being just game three of the campaign. These two sides do not like each other and the rivalry is sure to boil over. And the Roosters are set to welcome back two players who will relish such circumstances.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has recovered from back and hamstring issues to take his place in the side. He is joined by Victor Radley who has recovered from a head knock and will be fired up to play. 

The Roosters have also been handed another big boost with the news that Brandon Smith has not suffered any serious damage to his ribs and is clear to play.

Souths came crashing back down to earth with a defeat against the Penrith Panthers last Friday night but welcome back two influential players who were sorely missed in that game. 

Prop forward Tevita Tatola was a huge loss but has recovered from a head knock and is now free to play. So too is bench forward Hame Sele, who returns from a calf injury.

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