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THE TEAM NEWS
Head Coach: Trent Robinson
Starting 13: Tedesco, Tupou, Mitchell, Manu, Morris, Keary, Cronk, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Aubusson, Radley – Interchanges: Liu, Tetevano, Collins, Crichton – Reserves: Butcher, Ikuvalu, Lam, Faamausili
Unavailable: Ryan Hall, Billy Smith
Sydney Roosters will be attempting to become the first side since 1993 to retain their NRL title having secured the crown last season and begin this season as the favourites with the bookies.
The Roosters have retained the vast majority of their title-winning side from last year with Angus Crichton boosting their options in the back-row and he will make his debut against the team he signed from.
This side look more than capable of going back-to-back despite how difficult a feat it has been to achieve over the years but in Trent Robinson they have an innovative head coach who can come up with a plan over the course of the season to succeed.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Head Coach: Wayne Bennett
Starting 13: Johnston, Gagai, Inglis, Burns, Graham, Walker, Reynolds, Tatola, Cook, T. Burgess, Sutton, S. Burgess, Murray – Interchanges: Knight, Nicholls, Lowe, Allan – Reserves: Turner, Tracey, Kennedy, Hiroti
Unavailable: George Burgess, Dean Britt, Kurt Dillon, Adam Doueihi
South Sydney Rabbitohs head into the 2019 season with a new head coach after Wayne Bennett took over from Anthony Seibold in a drawn-out saga over the off-season with Bennett eager to make his mark with his new squad.
The Rabbitohs didn’t make any major signings during the off-season with Bennett hoping to get the best out of the Burgess brothers who he knows well from his role as England head coach.
He will however be without George Burgess who misses out through suspension whilst there is some doubt over how fit Adam Reynolds and Greg Inglis are for this Round 1 grudge match.
Sydney Roosters were hugely impressive champions last season and look capable of going back-to-back, becoming the first side to do so in over 25 years. Their opening encounter against bitter rivals South Sydney will tell us a lot about their intentions and they can lay down a big marker for the year. The Rabbitohs have a slight concern over key duo Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds with their 17 not looking as strong as last year on paper either and the Roosters can hand new head coach Wayne Bennett a disappointing start to his tenure.