With Lama Tasi out until Round Three and coach Trent Robinson seemingly resting Martin Kennedy, Sam Moa has been named to start in the front row versus the Tigers in this Saturday’s Foundation Cup trial match.
7.30pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters (squad): Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Aubusson, Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, Daniel Mortimer, Tinirau Arona, Aidan Guerra, Isaac Liu, Usaia O’Sullivan, Luke O’Donnell, Michael Oldfield.
Tigers: Tim Moltzen, Marika Koroibete, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Matt Utai, Benji Marshall, Jacob Miller, Keith Galloway, Robbie Farah, Jack Buchanan, Braith Anasta, Bodene Thompson, Adam Blair. Interchange: Masada Iosefa, Matthew Bell, Liam Fulton, Joel Reddy, Ben Murdoch-Masila, James Tedesco, Eddy Pettybourne.
Given Robinson has also failed to name Kane Evans, it looks like big Moa might have secured a spot on the bench for the Round One clash versus the Bunnies.
Luke O’Donnell has been named on the bench for his Roosters debut; given his age and injury history, I reckon this is also where he’ll be named for R1.
It also looks like Daniel Tupou may have won the wing spot left vacant after Tautau Moga’s injury, with offseason recruit Michael Oldfield named on the bench.
Minus Sonny Bill Williams, this is almost a full strength squad. I’d expect that Mitch Aubusson would be demoted to the bench once SBW is ready to go, with the first round bench to look something like this:
Moa, Aubusson, O’Donnell and Guerra.
Aubusson will fill that utility role and a reshuffle wouldn’t be too hard to do in the instance of injury.
The Foundation Cup will also give us the chance to watch how the combination between James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce is coming along, especially following what is rumoured to be MP7’s best offseason. Can’t wait for this game.