The Roosters take on English champs St Helens in this weekend’s World Club Challenge. Expert rugby league analyst Steve Green is betting!
- Roosters superior quality versus St Helens on home soil
- Can the Roosters cover the line with their skipper missing?
As is always the case with these World Club Challenge matches, this is designed to suit the Super League club. The Super League has already played three rounds of footy, so St Helens will have far superior match fitness. The game is also being played in England, so they’ll l have home ground advantage and the Roosters will have jetlag.
Making matters worse, the Roosters are missing quite a few key players from their grand final win. Latrell Mitchell, Zane Tetevano and Cooper Cronk have all moved on, while Boyd Cordner has been ruled out due to concerns about his workload in recent years. This is a worrying sign because not only is Cordner captain, it indicates the Roosters are not treating this as a do-or-die match.
Despite these obstacles the line hasn’t moved too much, with the Roosters going from -10.5 to -9.5 with some bookies, while others didn’t move at all.
I tend to agree that the Roosters deserve to be favourite and I think their likely replacements for those missing are all top quality.
Firstly, Crichton looks set to move from forwards to the centres. He has a lot of experience playing out wide and with his speed and strength, he’ll prove very hard to contain.
Secondly, I’m a big fan of Kyle Flanagan and think he and Keary will be a very good halves pairing for the Roosters.
Thirdly, Nat Butcher should see more game time with Cordner out injured and this is a positive development. He is a total gun and a player set for a breakout year in 2020.
As for St Helens, they’re stacked with British talent and some handy former NRL players. I particularly like the front row combination of Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson. Lomax is pure class in the halves and Coote has been a revelation in the Super League at fullback.
However, I’ve seen enough of these games to know that Super League standard is a notch or two below the NRL. Guys like Tedesco, Keary, Manu, Morris and Tupou have proven very hard to stop at NRL level.. so I think St Helens could struggle once the Roosters click into gear.
Just the one bet for me.
World Club Challenge: Predicted Score
St Helens 12
World Club Challenge: Recommended bet
I’m going to have a small line bet on the Roosters -9.5.