Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson Photo: Triple M
The Roosters have been “rocked” with two of their biggest names forced to pull out of the typically torrid derby against Souths at ANZ Stadium tonight.
www.foxsports.com reports in-form hooker Jake Friend (facial injury) and Blake Ferguson (ribs) have withdrawn due to injury.
It’s understood Connor Watson will replace Friend.
Jake Friend of Sydney Roosters Photo: Triple M
The Roosters-Rabbitohs fixture has been the season-opening showpiece in 11 of the past 12 years, before it was shunned to week four in 2017.
But try telling Roosters coach Trent Robinson it's no longer the grudge match of the season.
"There is always an intensity that goes into these games whether we try and admit it or not. There always is and it always ends up that way," Robinson said on Wednesday.
"I've said it before, we live next door to each other so it's always an important game.
"It's always one we look at at the start of the year - when we're playing each other.
"We look forward to a big battle again."
1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Siosifa Talakai 3. Robert Jennings 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Robbie Farah 10. Jason Clark 11. Angus Crichton 12. Kyle Turner 13. Sam Burgess (c) Interchange: 14. Damien Cook 15. Anthony Cherrington 16. Robbie Rochow 17. Zane Musgrove 19. Tyrell Fuimaono 21. Sitiveni Moceidreke
1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Shanu Kenny-Dowall 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waearea-Hargreaves 17. Connor Watson 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner (c) 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra Interchange: 14. Isaac Liu 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Ryan Matterson 8. Chris Smith 19. Paul Carter 22. Mitchell Cornish
- Additional reporting AAP