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Sharks v Roosters: Kennedy back on deck; Tupouniua returns

Having followed a win over the Eels with a loss to Panthers, Trent Robinson's Roosters are faced with another of the big guns in round 12 when they tackle the Sharks.

At their best the Roosters are a force to be reckoned with but consistency has been an issue in 2022 with some stirring wins over the Cowboys, Broncos and Eels countered by losses to the Bulldogs and Dragons.

The Sharks, meanwhile, have settled into a groove under new coach Craig Fitzgibbon and have one of the form players in the NRL in Nicho Hynes leading them around in style.

A bumper crowd is assured at PointsBet Stadium on a Saturday night and the home side will go in as clear favourites to rack up an eighth win of the season.

The Rundown
Team news

Sharks: With the late withdrawal of Wade Graham due to a foot injury, 23-year-old prop Tom Hazelton has been elevated into the 17-man NRL squad and is set to make his NRL debut. Will Kennedy returns from suspension at fullback with last week's impressive debutant Lachlan Miller named 18th man. Siosifa Talakai picked up an ankle injury on the Gold Coast but has been named to play.

Roosters: Sitili Tupouniua returns from a head knock in a boost for the Roosters. He comes onto the bench in place of Egan Butcher in the only change to the side beaten by Penrith. Terrell May retains his spot after a strong debut off the bench last week. Butcher and Lachlan Lam remained in the squad when it was trimmed to 19 players 24 hours before kick-off.

Key match-up
Nicho Hynes v Luke Keary: The former Storm man has been a revelation in the No.7 for Cronulla, surging up the Dally M leaderboard and staking a claim for buy of the year honours. His kicking game both short and long has been precise and his long pass to put Ronaldo Mulitalo over on Sunday was a thing of beauty. Keary's return from a knee reconstruction has been a work in progress but the classy Rooster has still racked up 11 try assists and eight forced dropouts in 11 games and he'll keep getting better the more footy he plays.

Stat Attack
The Sharks and Roosters boast an array of class players in their back three and have chalked up a stack of kick return metres across the opening 11 rounds. With James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou and Joseph Suaalii leading the way the Roosters have 2266 kick return metres, the third most in the NRL. The Sharks are fourth with 2131 kick return metres thanks to Will Kennedy, Sione Katoa and Ronaldo Mulitalo.

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