Chris Flannery.
Chris Flannery.

Flannery expects Roosters to crow

TONIGHT'S NRL grand final at ANZ Stadium is a battle between experience and enthusiasm, premiership-winning former Roosters player Chris Flannery says.

Inspired by Sonny Bill Williams, the Sydney Roosters have exuded high enthusiasm all season en route to securing the minor premiership.

But Sunshine Coast-based Flannery, who played 126 games for the Roosters and was part of their 2002 grand final triumph, admitted that Manly's array of big-game merchants was a concern.

Tellingly, only two Roosters players, second-rower Williams and fullback Anthony Minichiello, have played in a winning grand final team.

Most of the Sea Eagles squad played in their 2011 premiership-winning team.

"They (Manly) play a real tough style of footy and they've been there the last couple of years as well," Flannery said.

"It's gonna be a good test of, I guess, experience over enthusiasm.

"It will be a tight game, but I think the Roosters will get over them in the end."

Roosters forwards Boyd Cordner (ankle) and Luke O'Donnell are to have fitness tests to determine whether they will play.

Manly is expected to field the same team that beat South Sydney 30-20 in last weekend's preliminary final.

The Roosters have beaten Manly the three times the sides have met this year, including a 4-0 triumph in week one of the finals, and have conceded only 19 points in those clashes.

EX-MAROONS star Flannery, the chief executive of former Manly feeder club the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles, said the Roosters deserved to be favourite.

"I think they've been the best team all year and are obviously going in there with a lot of confidence," he said.

"They've got Sonny Bill and I think (halfback) Mitchell Pearce and (five-eighth) James Maloney are probably in career-best form as well.

"The forwards are really laying a good platform for those guys to play off the back of at the moment."


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