The officials: Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins, Referees; Luke Patten and Ashley Klein, Video Referees.
Boyd Cordner has not been named, nor has Luke O’Donnell with Craig Fitzgibbon claiming the club is happy with the 1-17 that handed out the the 40-14 thrashing of the Knights on Saturday.
Mitchell Pearce is expected to fully recover from flu-like symptoms in time for the decider after he was quarantined yesterday from the rest of the team.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves did not play in the club’s 4-0 win in week one over their Sunday opponents, and his return is a welcome one for the Roosters: they conceded 1,700+ running metres in the first week while makeing just over 1,100 themselves. In his last regular season game against Manly, JWH ran it 21 times for 180 metres and 26 tackles without a miss. In other words: BEAST.
Roosters team for the Grand Final: Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Aidan Guerra, Sonny Bill Wiliams, Frank-Paul Nu’uasala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Mitchell Aubusson, Isaac Liu, Dylan Napa.
Richard Fa’aoso has been ruled out after suffering a broken neck last week against the Bunnies — but the Sea Eagles, in a nice touch, had Fa’aoso take his spot in the GF team photo with a neck brace. Jason King is also out as he has been for a while now.
The last time these two teams played — in week 1 of the playoffs — Brett Stewart did not, but he returned last week and had a hand in two tries and scored another in the club’s stirring 30-20 win last week over Souths.
He’s been named again this week, but interestingly coach Geoff Toovey has named understudy Peta Hiku on an extended bench. This could be to reward the youngster by acknowledging him in the official guides on the biggest game of the year, or merely as a smokescreen to make the Roosters think Stewart is in doubt. Or maybe he is?
Sea Eagles team for the Grand Final: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough , Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: David Gower, Jamie Buhrer, Tom Symonds, George Rose, James Hasson, Peta Hiku.
As an extra, the NRL have published an interesting infographic on the statistical performances of both teams. There really isn’t much between them, but the Roosters have the big edge in goal-kicking over the course of the season. However, Jamie Lyon has been far better statistically in the finals so far: