One of the biggest rivalries in Rugby League kicks off when the South Sydney Rabbitohs take on arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters in Round 1 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
There's no doubt there has been plenty of pre-game hype, especially considering we take on the reigning premiers at the hallowed SCG turf for the first time since 1993.
Here are the Kayo Keys to the Match for Round 1 against the Sydney Roosters.
Back Row Battle
With over 650 NRL games worth of experience between them, the matchup between Rabbitohs second-rowers John Sutton and Sam Burgess and the Roosters' Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton is a mouth-watering prospect for all Rugby League supporters.
Burgess, who has recently made the move to the edge of the field in the off-season will face up against Roosters captain Boyd Cordner. There will be a little added add spice to this match up considering both players are international captains for England and Australia respectively.
On the other side of the park comes one of the Rabbitohs’ most loyal and experienced campaigners in John Sutton up against former Rabbitoh Angus Crichton, who will come off the bench in his first match for the tricolours.
Sutton enjoyed a vintage 2018 season, playing in all 27 matches for the Cardinal and Myrtle, averaging 117.4 metres per match while making 7 line breaks and scoring 4 tries. In his 25 appearances in his last season with the Club, Crichton scored three tries, made 8 line breaks and averaged 124.2 metres, and will no doubt feature as a threat to the Red and Green.
Similarly, Burgess had a strong season playing at lock, with 37 offloads, averaging 32.3 tackles and 147.6 metres per game. While those numbers may drop with less involvement in the centre of the field, you can expect his damaging runs to be greater as a threat on the edge of the field. Despite his numbers being lower, with 12 offloads, 28.7 average tackles and 124.3 metres per game last season, Cordner's impact on the edges of the field were quite influential for his side,
The South Sydney second-rowers boast a well-balanced set of traits, with Burgess’ aggression and high work rate and Sutton’s finesse and ball-playing, which will provide opportunities in different capacities for their outside men.
There’s no doubt that Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary were among the best halves in the 2018 NRL season.
Reynolds and Walker combined for an impressive 26 try assists and 29 dropouts, with Cronk and Keary producing 30 try assists and 23 dropouts - with the quartet proving to be some of the most influential players in the competition.
Both pairs have contrasting styles that are the envy of most other halves pairings - Reynolds and Cronk act as the generals, steering the ship and controlling the tempo of the match with their kicking game and organisation - evident as both cracked over 8000 kicking metres and over 15 dropouts in 2018.
Meanwhile, the five-eighths - Walker and Keary - provide the spark necessary to put on the points, and the statistics prove this, as both provided more try assists than their halfbacks with 14 and 21 respectively.
Some may argue that that balance of the halves is a major reason why both teams had such successful seasons, and whichever pair can control the match the best will go a long way in dictating who will take home the two points.