A match-up that always has feeling, the kind of feeling that can only come from having come face to face in a grand final.
These two sides haven't been as evenly matched in recent times as they were when they met way back in the 2004 decider, but that doesn't mean the encounter has lost any passion.
It's a must-win for the Roosters against the lowly Bulldogs, but the Dogs have shown they don't let teams off easy and they'll take it to the end, whether they're in it or not.
Match: Roosters v Bulldogs
Round 14 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Roosters: James Tedesco will be rested with Joseph Manu moving to fullback and Mitchell Aubusson starting at centre. Brock Lamb dropped off the reserves list on Saturday. Origin stars Latrell Mitchell and Angus Crichton are welcome inclusions after being rested last weekend. Victor Radley takes over the hooking role from Sam Verrills after coming off the bench in the loss to the Panthers. Zane Tetevano reverts to the bench with Isaac Liu shifting to prop and Nat Butcher starting at lock. Lindsay Collis is also out while Poasa Faamausili and Verrills join the interchange from the reserves.
Bulldogs: Jack Cogger and Adam Elliott are out, with Fa'amanu Brown at halfback and Corey Harawira-Naera into the starting pack. Chris Smith joins the interchange. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been named in the centres to make his Bulldogs debut, with Marcelo Montoya moving to the wing and Christian Crichton dropped.
Fullback for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Marcelo Montoya
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Latrell MitchellCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Roosters is number 17 Mitchell AubussonCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will Hopoate
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Ryan HallWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew HutchisonFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran Foran
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Cooper CronkHalfback for Bulldogs is number 19 Fa'amanu Brown
Prop for Roosters is number 13 Isaac LiuProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Victor RadleyHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Boyd Cordner2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
Lock for Roosters is number 14 Nat ButcherLock for Bulldogs is number 16 Corey Harawira-Naera
Interchange for Roosters is number 8 Zane TetevanoInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Rhyse Martin
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Sitili TupouniuaInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Danny Fualalo
Interchange for Roosters is number 18 Poasa FaamausiliInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Sauaso Sue
Interchange for Roosters is number 21 Sam VerrillsInterchange for Bulldogs is number 21 Chris Smith
There's probably more mismatches than match-ups in this one, but Dylan Napa will want a big showing ahead of Origin team announcements and against his old side. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosuia Taukeiaho won't be taking a backward step so it could produce a battle royale.
For the Roosters to win
They need to use their creative backline and force the Bulldogs' defence into decision-making on the run. Canterbury rank among the most for missed and ineffective tackles, something the Roosters have the capability to expose and take full advantage of.
For the Bulldogs to win
The Bulldogs have kept themselves in games throughout 2019 by being disciplined, holding the ball and keeping possession to give themselves a chance. If they do that and make decent metres to get in the danger zone, they must then move the ball around, take some risks and look for repeat sets. If they have the ball, the Roosters can't score.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Roosters have had a couple of losses and I expect them to bounce back. Latrell Mitchell will be back in the centres and it could be a long day out for the Dogs. Injuries in the halves for Canterbury could make points hard to come by. I'm tipping Cooper Cronk to be the star of the day. Roosters by 12.
A top team against a bottom team, the season stats are going to generally fall in the way of the better performing side. But the Bulldogs lead the comp for completions and interestingly sit second for average metres made, behind Souths, with 1595 per game. The Roosters are ninth with an average 1493, 100 metres fewer per match.
And another thing ...
The Bulldogs were giving things a red hot go off the back of powerhouse Jayden Okunbor, but with him out with a toe injury, they've really lost something. He sits among the top in the competition for line-breaks (10), which gave the Bulldogs something to play off.
Without that against the Roosters, it might be hard for the Bulldogs to dismantle thems.