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The Roosters have looked near unbeatable over the past four weeks and while the Dragons have had a pair of morale-boosting wins the standard goes up significantly this week.

The Roosters have looked every bit the defending premiers since the resumption and last week ended the run of the last unbeaten side in the competition, Parramatta, with an eventually-comfortable 24-10 result in round six.

The Dragons clawed themselves off the foot of the ladder with wins over the Sharks and Titans but will need another significant improvement to challenge Trent Robinson's squad.

The rundown

Team news

Roosters: In a series of changes announced an hour before kickoff, Joseph Manu will start at fullback, Brett Morris in the centres and Sam Verrills at hooker. Jake Friend will start the match from the interchange bench. Lachlan Lam and Nat Butcher were the last two players cut from the squad. James Tedesco and Josh Morris were ruled out on Thursday. The Roosters have won five of their past six matches against the Dragons.

Dragons: Jacob Host was dropped from the squad after injuring a hamstring during the wam-up, with Korbin Sims coming into the 17. Tristan Sailor is the other player left out on game day. Jason Saab replaces the suspended Jordan Pereira on the wing, Blake Lawrie starts at prop, Josh Kerr goes back to the bench, and Jackson Ford replaces the Super League-bound James Graham on the interchange. Tim Lafai and Billy Brittain were the two players left out on the eve of the match. The Dragons have lost both their matches at Bankwest Stadium.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jason Saab
  • Centre for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan Aitken
  • Centre for Roosters is number 19 Mitchell Aubusson
    Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
  • Winger for Roosters is number 20 Ryan Hall
    Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Kyle Flanagan
    Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Adam Clune

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 14 Sam Verrills
    Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnes
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
    Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tyrell Fuimaono
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
    Lock for Dragons is number 13 Trent Merrin

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Jake Friend
    Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Ben Hunt
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Isaac Liu
    Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Josh Kerr
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Lindsay Collins
    Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Jackson Ford
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 18 Sitili Tupouniua
    Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Korbin Sims

Key match-up

Kyle Flanagan v Adam Clune. Flanagan is easily the younger of the two No.7s while Clune is the less experienced with just three caps to his name. Flanagan had big shoes to fill with Cooper Cronk's retirement but has been heavily involved in his team's attack over the past four rounds.

Clune has been more understated but still important, as his steady hand has allowed Ben Hunt to flourish at dummy-half while skipper Cam McInnes has been just as impressive at lock as at hooker.