Return to Redfern - Rabbitohs vs PNG - Match Preview
Friday 8 February 2013 9:51 AM
The Rabbitohs will take on the Papua New Guinea Residents XIII at the Return to Redfern clash at the Australian Technology Park Performance Centre at Redfern Oval. Get your tickets here.
The Rabbitohs are in for a very tough encounter against a skilful and passionate Papua New Guinea Residents side coached by former Queensland State of Origin player and PNG representative Adrian Lam.
Papua New Guinea come into the game with some outstanding form having won the Cabramatta 9’s Tournament in which they conceded just two tries. Their last full hit out was against the Australian Prime Ministers XIII and they came extremely close to knocking off their much fancied opponents with only a late try to Akuila Uate stealing victory away from them.
“It’s the same squad that played Australia in September and probably should have won,” said Papua New Guinea Head Coach Adrian Lam.
“We feel that they’ve taken the next step as a side.
“It will be a great test for them this weekend against the Rabbitohs.”
Watch Adrian Lam chat about the Return to Redfern clash here.
South Sydney Head Coach Michael Maguire will blood some young players but mixes in plenty of experience including Ben Lowe, Chris McQueen, Dave Tyrrell, the returning Beau Champion and New Zealand International Bryson Goodwin for his first taste of football in the famous cardinal and myrtle. 23-year-old Jason Clark receives the much deserved honour of captaining the side and will need to draw on all of his 59 games of NRL experience to lead the Rabbitohs against a physical Papua New Guinea side.
“Talking to Benny Te’o from the Prime Ministers XIII, he was saying they were tough up there,” Said Clark.
“We’re not expecting anything easy."
Watch Jason Clark chat about the Return to Redfern clash here.
It’s no secret that Papua New Guinea will be physically intimidating with the Rabbitohs' halves pairing of Luke Keary and Justin Hunt expecting a tough early stanza.
“I think we’re expecting a bit of a physical start,” said Keary.
“We’ve done a lot of fitness work and hopefully we can put in place our systems and kick on with the game.”
Watch Luke Keary chat about the Return to Redfern clash here.
Keys to victory
The halves pairing will be key for the Rabbitohs with both Keary and Hunt possessing excellent running games. Keary was outstanding in the Under 20’s competition last year scoring 20 tries while Hunt regularly featured on the scoresheet at five-eighth for the North Sydney Bears and also crossed for five tries in his seven outings for the Rabbitohs albeit on the wing.
Papua New Guinea will no doubt put intense pressure on the halves with Justin Hunt revealing that he’s expecting some “big hits”. The key for the Rabbitohs' halves will be whether they can ride out the defensive pressure and show off their running games.
Adrian Lam revealed that the Papua New Guinea side has been concentrating intensely on their defensive game. It appears to have paid dividends with the side conceding only two tries during the nine-a-side Cabramatta Tournament over the weekend. Quite an extraordinary feat.
Maintaining their discipline in defence over the full 80 minutes will be the test for the PNG side, with their coach admitting it’s a work in progress.
“We have been behind in that area, it’s something we’ve identified as a coaching staff,” said Lam.
“They’re also flamboyant with the ball, sometimes to the benefit of the game, sometimes driving the coach insane with the amount of errors.
“We’ve tried not to get rid of that because we feel that’s a strength.
“We’re just trying to touch it up a bit, just to make them understand the importance of controlling the ball.”
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Luke Keary (Halfback)
As highlighted previously, Keary alongside Justin Hunt will form the all-important halves combination. Keary amassed a whopping 20 tries at halfback in the Under 20’s competition last season and has been working extensively on his kicking game.
If he can push the hard running PNG side into the corners with tactical kicking he’ll heap pressure on the visitors.
Jason Clark (Lock) - Captain
Clark will captain the Rabbitohs and his leadership will be vital if the Rabbitohs are to win. A local junior, Clark will be keen to impress as spots in the Rabbitohs NRL are ever increasingly tough to come by.
Clark will need to lead from the front defensively, something that he is more than capable of doing. Despite playing an average of 34 minutes last season, Clark averaged over 18 tackles per game at an efficiency of over 90%, one of the best in the side.
Papua New Guinea
Charlie Wabo (Hooker)
Nicknamed 'The Jukebox' because he churns out so many hits, the experience of Wabo will be key to his side. Largely used as an interchange player his ‘impact’ off the bench was highlighted in the 2010 Four Nations when he laid a huge hit on Kiwi International Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Wabo has been an International since 2008 including matches in the Pacific Nations Cup, World Cup and Four Nations.
Glen Nami (Lock) - Captain
Nami captains the Papua New Guinea side and will pull on the number 13 jersey. A ball playing back-rower, Nami also played five-eighth during the 2010 Four Nations opposite some quality opposition in Darren Lockyer and Benji Marshall.
Nami is extremely passionate about his Rugby League and will most likely be a member of this year’s Rugby League Word Cup. He’s a tough but skilful footballer and will be one of the key members of the squad.