Roosters V Bulldogs to be a fight of pace against power
TONIGHT'S knockout semi-final between the Roosters and Bulldogs shapes as a classic battle between pace against power.
The Roosters have the pace men in fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, centres Michael Jennings and Blake Ferguson and big wingers Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Daniel Tupou.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, base their game around the power of forwards James Graham, Frank Pritchard, David Klemmer, Greg Eastwood, Sam Kasiano and Aiden Tolman.
Not surprisingly, Roosters coach Trent Robinson has pulled the pin on a planned comeback by halfback Mitchell Pearce from a hamstring injury.
The Origin representative completed the team's final training run, but not convincingly enough to get the green light from his coach, who has again called up youngster Jackson Hastings.
Robinson clearly didn't want to gamble on Pearce, who by all reports was only 75% right and a real chance of tearing the hamstring had he played.
Shock losers to a well-drilled Melbourne Storm last weekend, the Roosters are expected by many, including bookmaker Sportsbet who have them at a short $1.30 against the Dogs at $3.15, to hit back with a win that will put them into a grand final qualifier against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
While Robinson would have liked to have had Pearce back in the No.7 jumper with James Maloney in the halves, he has a lot of confidence in teenager Hastings.
Hastings showed he was an instinctive player with his kick-pass to winger Kenny-Dowall for a try last weekend when the better option with the overlap was just to shift the ball quickly.
Tip - Roosters by 12.