The Newsroom previews round 17 of the National Rugby League.
Sydney Roosters v Canterbury Bulldogs
The Roosters will be boosted by the return of Mitchell Pearce when they take on the in-form Bulldogs tonight at Allianz Stadium. Pearce returns from a calf injury sustained in the round 13 encounter against the Wests Tigers. Ryan Matterson has been pushed to the extended bench with the return of Pearce. The Bulldogs welcome back Greg Eastwood from a knee injury sustained a month ago. Players to watch are Brett Morris and Latrell Mitchell. Morris returned last week from a long-term knee injury and scored a hat-trick in the 40-14 drubbing of the Brisbane Broncos. Mitchell, 19, has immense strength, is comfortable under the high ball and is the man to step up and get the Roosters out of the rut they are in. There’s 10 weeks to go until the finals and the Roosters have the tough task of needing to win nine matches or they can rule out their 2016 season campaign.
New Zealand Warriors v Gold Coast Titans
The Warriors take on the Titans at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Warriors captain Simon Mannering will play his 250th game after he made his debut for the Warriors in 2005. Both sides are coming off losses as they keep battling to get into the top eight. Johnathan Wright has been dropped by the Warriors and Tuimoala Lolohea will start on the right wing. The Titans welcome back co-captain William Zillman to the fullback position after a foot injury. Former Rabbitoh Chris McQueen takes the place of right centre Nathan Davis, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last week. To start the match, fans will be able to collect a free Simon Mannering mask as they walk in the gates.
Cronulla Sharks v Parramatta Eels
The Sharks will be aiming for a record 12 consecutive wins when they will take on the Eels at Shark Park on Saturday night. The story of the week has been whether Eels winger Semi Radradra will line up with the team on Saturday. Radradra has been in Fiji visiting family and has asked for extended leave. Radradra is expected to return on Friday but he has a dark cloud over his head with allegations of domestic violence brought forward. Players to watch are Sosaia Feki and Michael Jennings. Feki returns after missing last week with a minor strain and Jennings comes back into the lineup after Origin duties. –Jesse Mullens
Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm – Suncorp Stadium, Friday night, 7:50pm
Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers – ANZ Stadium, Saturday evening, 5:30pm
Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights – GIO Stadium, Sunday afternoon, 2pm
South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys – Barlow Park, Sunday afternoon, 4pm
Manly Sea Eagles v St George Illawarra Dragons – Brookvale Oval, Monday night, 7pm
Photo of Mitchell Pearce training outside Allianz Stadium from the Roosters Twitter feed.