The BYB boys have been on fire early to start the NRL season and I am keen to keep those winners rolling here this afternoon. The Knights will host the Dragons in Newcastle while the depleted Roosters do battle with the Warriors at the SCG.
Newcastle International Sports Centre - 4:05pm AEDT
The Knights will be looking to bounce back after a shocking performance last week in a loss to the Wests Tigers. In Mitch Pearce’s 300th game his team just couldn’t hold onto the ball and errors proved costly with the Tigers prevailing in a close one. You’d expect yet another bumper crowd packed in for Easter SUnday and they will be hoping to see a much improved performance from a side who has showed promise early in the season. The Dragons come into this off the back of an impressive win versus the Sea Eagles and look to have found some momentum in their season. They will be without Ben Hunt for 4-6 weeks however which is a massive blow to their hopes today. This is a crucial match for both sides with a possible spot in the top 4 awaiting the winner.
Many would think Knights should be able to win this match comfortably at home in front of a packed out crowd against an inconsistent Dragons side. After last week’s shocker however, there looked to be plenty of room for improvement and they seemed to take a real step back in their performances this season. The Dragons on the other hand come into this off back to back wins and are riding a wave of momentum. If Ben Hunt and Jack Bird were both playing I would be pretty confident the Dragons could knock off Newcastle here but those two are both massive outs. The Knights forward pack has been immense all season and they are going to need to win the battle in the middle for their backs to reap the rewards. I can’t see the Knights losing two straight home games here and if you can forgive them on last week’s performance, they look too strong for the visitors. Before their loss against the Tigers last week, the Knights had won 6 straight games at home. I am expecting a tight game with the Knights prevailing.
Sydney Cricket Ground - 6:15pm AEDT
One of the more interesting matches of the round sees a depleted Roosters side host the Warriors at the famous SCG. The Roosters lost both Luke Keary and Lachlan Lam to serious knee injuries last week while Lindsay Collins was another casualty after a bad head knock. They will start today’s match with young gun Sam Walker and utility Drew Hutchinson in the halves. The home side are boosted by the return of Victor Radley while it’s all smiles for the Warriors coming into this off the back of one of their best wins in recent memory. The New Zealand side came back from 19 points down at half time to beat the Raiders in a thriller down in Canberra last week which will give them a massive amount of confidence. The Roosters will be eager to erase the bad memories of last week where they were battered and bruised going down to the Rabbitohs. You can guarantee they will be fired up and be looking to avoid two straight losses.
The Roosters have an incredible record at the SCG where they have won 15 of their last 18 matches at this ground. While they suffered some terrible luck with injuries last week, they still have plenty of firepower to match it with the best sides in the competition. James Tedesco has been arguably the player of the season so far while Brett Morris just can’t stop scoring tries. Both these men will be needed more than ever today but I think the home side can come out on top. Boom youngster Sam Walker finally makes his debut and there has been plenty of hype about the talent this young kid has. If he can live up to half the hype in his first match here today, the Roosters will be winning this match. The Warriors can never be underestimated however. They showed last week they can get into an arm wrestle and come out on top with a tight win over one of the best sides in the competition. The problem with the Warriors is that you never know what team is going to show up each day. One week they can look like premiership contenders and the next, wooden spooners. So with that in mind, I am thinking the Roosters will be too classy in front of a packed out SCG on Easter Sunday.
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