2013 Charity Shield Preview - Rabbitohs vs Dragons
Friday 22 February 2013 10:13 AM
Rabbitohs vs Dragons
7:30pm - NRL kick off
5:15pm - NYC kick off
5:10pm - Gates open
Twitter Hashtags - #gorabbitohs #charityshield
Follow live scores on the Rabbitohs Twitter account here.
Tickets available by clicking here.
The 30th instalment of the Charity Shield has been eagerly awaited.
Rabbitohs Members and fans will be keen to see new recruit Ben Te’o in South Sydney's colours for the first time while Dragons fans have new players Gerard Beale, Tyson Frizell and promising halfback Josh Drinkwater, recruited from Manly to cast their eye over.
While it is a pre-season game there is plenty of passion on the line and a big, boisterous crowd is expected.
Despite their perceived poor season in 2012, the Dragons finished in ninth spot, just two points outside the top eight.
Their biggest issue was in attack where they scored just 16.9 points per game, last in the NRL.
If they can fix that, their fortunes should improve in 2013 and they certainly have the personnel to do it.
With real class in a backline featuring Jamie Soward, Jason Nightingale, Matt Cooper and Brett Morris, if their pack can give them some go-forward, they could cause problems for opposition defences.
That’s where their greatest challenge lies.
Players like Trent Merrin and Ben Creagh will really need to step up a few gears, especially against a daunting Rabbitohs pack.
South Sydney boast plenty of size up forward in Sam Burgess, Ben Te’o and Roy Asotasi.
Mix that in with the experience of Michael Crocker, Ben Lowe and co and it’s a formidable looking pack.
Issac Luke will again be dangerous in attack (he ran for over 100 metres in last year’s Charity Shield) and he has an extremely capable back-up in Nathan Peats, who can also play in the back row.
Where it will be won
Up forward. On paper the back lines are fairly evenly matched, as much as they can be with the power of Inglis down the back for the Rabbitohs.
But on paper, the Dragons forwards look a little outclassed.
If their pack can really step up, they’re a big chance of claiming the Charity Shield once again.
Soward’s kicking game will need to be spot on.
If your long kicks hit a rampaging Greg Inglis on the chest, you’re probably going to have a bad time.
At times, the Rabbitohs' wide defence struggled last year and with Beau Champion returning and plenty of depth in the centres, those combinations have changed a little.
If they can keep a lid on Nightingale, Vidot, Cooper and Morris out wide the Dragons' scoring options look even more limited.
The Rabbitohs have not won the Charity Shield since 2009 when they triumphed 18-6. The 2010 match ended in a 26-26 draw, the 2011 version a dominant 32-10 win to the Dragons and last year’s encounter a tight tussle, again won by the Dragons 18-12.
Sam Burgess was the pick of the Rabbitohs players in the last encounter scoring both tries, making three line breaks, ten tackle breaks and two offloads.
Burgess ran 15 times for 114 metres and added 23 tackles in his 72 minutes.
Michael Crocker was exceptional in defence with 35 tackles in only 39 minutes.
For the Dragons, Trent Merrin and Matt Prior led the way with 126 and 129 metres respectively while Jason Nightingale proved a handful, making four tackle breaks.
Ben Te’o vs Ben Creagh
With the retirement of Ben Hornby and Dean Young, the Dragons will be looking for leadership on the field and Ben Creagh is the man.
Another player keen to impress is Ben Te'o.
Te'o joins the Rabbitohs from Brisbane where he had an up and down year.
Despite that, he was selected in the QLD Origin squad and was 18th man for the Australian Test side.
Career NRL Games
2012 NRL Games
Tackles per game
Attacking runs per game
Attacking run metres per game
Greg Inglis vs Gerard Beale
The fullback position is fast becoming one of the most important in modern day Rugby League and Greg Inglis is right up there with the best of them.
Read Greg Inglis' thoughts on the Charity Shield in his exclusive column for ANZ Stadium by clicking here
Gerard Beale comes to a new club looking to make an impact and with plenty of players breathing down his neck, he'll need to impress early.
Career NRL Games
2012 NRL Games
Runs per game
Run metres per game