Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named on the wing after missing the World Club Challenge two weekends ago. He played during the club’s 52-4 thrashing at the hands of the Penrith Panthers in a trial game instead in his first action since breaking his leg in the RLWC final.
Isaac Liu is out for between 8-12 weeks after suffering a knee injury in the Nines, but he was unlikely to make the squad regardless. The team you see here is the first choice team Robbo will likely choose when all players are fit and ready.
Surprisingly, Trent Robinson has elected not to run with french import Remi Casty, instead opting for The Red Menace, Dylan Napa, with Kane Evans 18th man and Jets Utility Kurt Kara in the 19 jersey on an extended bench.
Roosters team for Round One: 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, Sonny Bill Wiliams, Frank-Paul Nu’uasala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Aidan Guerra, Mitchell Aubusson, Dylan Napa, Kane Evans, Kurt Kara.
Luke Keary is out for five months after tearing his pectoral muscle, and coach Michael Maguire has seemingly elected to let John Sutton get comfortable in the forwards rather than shift him back to the spot from which he nearly made his Origin debut last year.
Instead, Maguire has elected to shift Dylan Walker to the halves to partner Adam Reynolds, but may be forced into another late shift back with Walker still feeling the effects of an ankle injury. He’s likely to be a game-time decision and if he can’t play, they’ll likely shift Sutton to the halves, Lowe to lock and promote Kyle Turner to the bench.
Reynolds is seemingly fit to play after being initially in doubt with a knee injury, while Lote Tuqiri will also make his first appearance in Souths colours. The loss in the offseason of Roy Asotasi means George Burgess will start in the front row this year.
Rabbitohs team for Round 26: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Beau Champion, Bryson Goodwin, Lote Tuqiri, Dylan Walker, Adam Reynolds, George Burgess, Issac Luke, Sam Burgess, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, John Sutton. Interchange: (From) Ben Lowe, Joe Picker, David Tyrell, Luke Burgess, Joel Reddy, Kyle Turner.
REFEREES: Ben Cummins/Luke Phillips.
VIDEO REFS: Ashley Klein/Luke Patten.
TOUCHIES: Grant Atkins/Russell Turner.