Cordner ready to kickstart campaign
Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner will play his first game of the year in his preferred second row position against the Rabbitohs on Friday.
Coach Trent Robinson has named Cordner for the Bankwest Stadium clash in what will be his first competitive outing since the World Club Challenge win over St Helens.
A hamstring tweak picked up in training means Siosiua Taukeiaho will shuffle to the reserves as Isaac Liu starts in the front row.
New recruit Josh Morris will line-up at left centre inside Daniel Tupou for the Tricolours, while Ryan Hall has been named in the 21-man squad for the first time this year.
Beaten in their first two games of the season, the Roosters resume their quest for a third straight title by taking on a South Sydney side that features their former star Latrell Mitchell at fullback.
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed James Roberts will miss the game due to a lack of fitness
Jake Friend, who is co-captain of the Roosters along with Cordner, is confident he can handle the gruelling revamped NRL schedule.
The 30-year-old hooker, who has racked up 246 appearances for the club, is looking to secure a new deal beyond the end of this year.
He says he isn't fazed by the new draw, which has clubs playing for 18 straight weeks.
"I haven't played much footy in the last couple of years, so I'm pretty excited to get out there and string some games together. I want to play all 18," added Friend.
"I've been able to get some strength-work stuff that whilst injured you can't do so it's been really good. I think a lot of our team has made the most of the time away."
Sydney Roosters are 3.60 to win the grand final.
The Roosters are 1.36 to win their next game against South Sydney, who are 3.30.
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