Titans v Rabbitohs
Saturday 20 February
Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
Kick-off: 5pm (Local Time) 6pm (AEST)
A strong Rabbitohs side will take on the Gold Coast Titans in the final trial game of both teams’ 2016 preparations. With Sam Burgess set to make his return, the leadership of Greg Inglis as well as the presence of Adam Reynolds and Thomas Burgess, the clash could be set to provide an insight into what’s in store for the new-year.
In last week’s Charity Shield clash against the Dragons, players such as Hymel Hunt, John Olive and Zane Musgrove all stood up in the absence of more experienced campaigners – a fact that wasn’t lost on Rabbitohs mentor, Michael Maguire.
“The guys really earned their spots from last week’s game, it was good to see them performing,” said Maguire.
“This sort of enthusiasm is great for a team in really building that competitive spirit that the boys react to extremely well”.
But enthusiasm and potential isn’t exclusive to the Rabbitohs, with a number of Titans players proving their worth in recent weeks as they look to nail down positions.
Rabbitohs halfback, Reynolds, sounded out that enthusiasm when he spoke to Rabbitohs.com.au earlier in the week.
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“They’ve got some good young players who are all looking for spots just like in our team, so there’ll be a lot of enthusiasm,” said the Souths Junior.
“They’re going to be dangerous, but having said that, it’s all about us just turning up, doing our job and looking to put the things that we’ve been doing at training into practice.”
Reynolds will don the Red and Green for the first time in 2016 in the Gold Coast trial, a week after helping the World All Stars to victory over the Indigenous All Stars – Reynolds’ two goals proving the ultimate difference.
Eyes will also be on Sam Burgess as he makes his first appearance for the Rabbitohs since 2014. Burgess was named at Lock by Maguire on Tuesday, with the Clive Churchill Medallist’s brother Tom, being named at prop.
For the Titans, a speedy back-line that will feature the return of injured fullback, William Zillman, is set to test the Red and Green defence, with the custodian enjoying the support of David Mead and Anthony Don on the Titans wings. In the centres, the young-gun pairing pf Nathan Davis and Brian Kelly will be given an opportunity following strong outings in the Auckland Nines.
In the forward pack, Ryan James, Nathan Friend and David Shillington will fire the Titans engine-room, supported by a back-row that includes former Rabbitoh, Chris McQueen.
Spotlight – Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess will make his long-awaited return to Rugby League and the Rabbitohs on Saturday after a year spent in Rugby Union. The Premiership-winning forward will don the number 13 jersey at lock for the match, with Coach Maguire indicating that the Englishman will play as long as he can as he strives for match-fitness. With stinging defence and no regard for self-preservation, Burgess’ progress will be keenly watched by Rabbitohs Members and supporters everywhere.