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PREVIEW: Rd 19, 2017

The South Sydney Rabbitohs will head to Barlow Park this afternoon in Cairns to take on the North Queensland Cowboys in their Round 19 home game clash scheduled to kick-off at 4pm.

The Cowboys have three Origin players returning to their side with Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan and Coen Hess backing up from the Maroons Origin victory. They will however be missing key play maker in Johnathon Thurston who was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. In the Rabbitohs side, Robert Jennings will return from injury after a successful comeback last week with the North Sydney Bears.

While the Rabbitohs come off a loss to the Roosters, they will be eager to make amends to last week’s errors while the Cowboys come off a bye week. However, Cowboys Coach Paul Green made no changes to his side that in the previous round defended the Canberra Raiders in a 31-18 away game victory.

With finals hopes still clear in Souths eyes, the players have full belief in their side and the leaders are stepping up to relieve the pressure and make sure every player is doing their job.

“Certainly we are going into every game well prepared,” said Rabbitohs Captain Sam Burgess.

“We are there to get two points and if you’re not thinking to win a game every weekend then you probably shouldn’t be there.

“I really enjoy going to Cairns, it’s another chance we get to travel as a team.

“We played our best football at the backend of last year when I guess the pressure was off. So we will take that pressure off come to training, enjoy ourselves and look to improve.”

Head Coach Michael Maguire has also pushed for his senior players to lead the way and believes if the team can perform to their best ability, the results will follow.

“This game really is a game where I spoke to my leaders, the senior guys and it’s about them going out there and doing the job the best they can,” explained Maguire.

“If they lead the way then I’ve got a good group of young guys that have a lot of experience now at the NRL level but it’s about performing and my senior players have got to make sure they really hang on to that, go out and do their job and do it the best they can.

“If they do that then the results as we have seen throughout the season can be really good.”

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The curtain raiser to the NRL fixture is the Outback Cup Grand Final, a battle between Queensland Outback (western Queensland and north-west New South Wales) and Northern Queensland United (Palm Island, the Cape and Indigenous communities, North Peninsula and the Torres Strait Islands) which will kick off at 1:45pm. Gates will open at Barlow Park at 1:40pm.

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