The Sydney Roosters will be looking to separate themselves from the Wigan Warriors on Sunday morning by becoming the first side to win five World Club Challenge trophies.
Standing in their way is St Helens, the defending Super League champions. The Saints will be making their eighth appearance at this event as they look to put 2015’s shutout loss to the Rabbitohs behind them.
The odds are currently favouring the Roosters by plenty despite losing star fullback Latrell Mitchell to South Sydney and Cooper Cronk to retirement during the offseason. This is a tough game to bet on with very little value head-to-head, but we’re confident we’ve found some value plays in our preview below.
Not only is Trent Robinson’s side looking to win a fifth World Club Challenge, but the Roosters are also hoping to become the first club to win back-to-back trophies in the history of the competition.
The reigning NRL premiers are currently laying -9.5 on the road even with a handful of last years stars missing. Aside from Latrell and Cronk, Sydney will also be without captain Boyd Cordner and hooker Sam Verrills.
None of this will worry Trent Robinson, though. Depth is the Roosters’ biggest strength, leaving Robinson with the simple decision to play Angus Crichton in Latrell’s absence and Sitili Tupouniua in place of Cordner.
Sydney had no problem scoring points in this game last year winning 20-8 over Wigan. This one could turn out a little closer against a St Helens side that score in a hurry, but I expect the Roosters to keep their composure as Robinson employs a fairly simple gameplan.
The Saints are three weeks into their season, although they too are nursing a long list of injuries.
James Roby and Lachlan Coote are both in doubt, while centre Mark Percival is out indefinitely after suffering a shoulder injury last weekend against Hull.
St Helens has the added advantage of being match fit, but the defending Super League champs have shown some signs of fatigue – most recently losing to Warrington 19-0 a fortnight ago.
The Saints should put up a respectable number on the scoreboard, but at the end of the day, it’s tough to see them penetrating Sydney’s dominant forward line and also keeping the likes of James Tedesco intact.
Tip: Back the Roosters to Cover the Line (-9.5 Points) at $1.92