Roosters v Cowboys: Verrills set to play; McLean good to go

After making a statement by beating the Broncos last week, the Roosters have another chance to prove their mettle against the second-placed Cowboys, who will hunting their fourth win on the trot.

The Tricolours have now put a win between themselves and the ninth-placed Raiders, with skipper James Tedesco in fine touch as he led them to a comfortable win over Brisbane, who up until that result had been among the frontrunners to claim a top-four place.

The Cowboys were made to work for it against the Bulldogs last week, with a late double to Scott Drinkwater helping them to a win which keeps the slim chance of them jumping past Penrith for the minor premiership alive for the time being.

When they met earlier this year it was the Roosters who were convincing 28-4 winners on the road.

The Rundown
Team news

Roosters: Hooker Sam Verrills has been named and is set to play after being included at hooker. Egan Butcher returns after serving a one-game ban, replacing Ben Thomas on the bench. There were no changes in the 19-man team update.

Cowboys: After suffering a hamstring injury which denied him a place in the Origin decider, Jordan McLean is back on the Cowboys bench but winger Kyle Feldt remains sidelined with his own hamstring issue. Reuben Cotter comes into the starting side with Jamayne Taunoa-Brown going back to the bench. There were no late changes to the Cowboys in the 24-hour team update.

Key match-up
James Tedesco v Scott Drinkwater: Two of the NRL’s form fullbacks all year, who head into this clash fresh off impressive showings for their side in round 21. Drinkwater ran for a game-high 183 metres last week, helped by making three line breaks, with his two tries in the final 12 minutes helping his side get past the stubborn Bulldogs. While he didn’t get on the scoring sheet, Tedesco did just about everything else from the back last week, clocking 264 run metres to go with 14 tackle breaks and a pair of line-break and try assists.

Stat Attack
Gone are the days when a trip to Sydney would have been daunting for the Cowboys, with Todd Payten’s men now boasting the second-best away record in the competition with just two away defeats all year. They will fancy their chances even more given the Roosters’ rocky experience at the Sydney Cricket Ground so far this season, having lost four of seven games there. 

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