NRL and NYC Previews - Rabbitohs vs Sharks - Round Two, 2013
Monday March 18, 7pm kickoff ANZ Stadium
Official Twitter hashtags - #NRLSouCro #gorabbitohs
With all the controversy surrounding the Sharks at present, their players will be relieved to actually be able to concentrate solely on football when they run out on Monday night.
The Rabbitohs will be without Sam Burgess due to suspension and exactly how much that affects the Rabbitohs pack is uncertain.
Another uncertainty is if the Sharks simply overcame the emotion surrounding the Club or managed to ride the wave as they recorded a gutsy win over a desperate Titans outfit on Sunday. But can a team play on emotion every week?
Rabbitohs centre Dylan Farrell think teams and individual players definitely can.
"People play week-to-week on emotion," said Farrell.
"The emotion of your family, of your club, training all through preseason.
"Emotionally, youre playing every week."
With Sam Burgess missing, Jeff Lima steps into the starting spot with Dave Tyrrell or Jason Clark likely to get the last bench spot.
Beau Champion, who suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Roosters will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks and new recruit Bryson Goodwin steps into the centres in his place.
In other good news for South Sydneys centre stocks, Shaune Corrigan makes his return to football for the North Sydney Bears this weekend and Matt King looks to be no more than a week away from a return.
See the Rabbitohs line-up here.
The Rabbitohs played a very strong season opener against traditional rivals the Roosters and after the opening salvo from the home side, South Sydney looked much like a much more settled team.
The Sharks overcame a somewhat disciplined Titans side and conceded two tries to bombs, something that may worry them with noted leapers Everingham, Inglis and McQueen out wide.
Want to learn how to take a high ball like Chris McQueen? Let 'Lightning' show you how here!
The Rabbitohs have won six of the last ten encounters between the teams including five of the last seven.
Over the last ten meetings which stretch back to 2007, scoring has been tight, with the Rabbitohs just outpointing the Sharks 204-196.
Last year the sides had one win a-piece with South Sydney victorious 34-28 in round nine and the Sharks winning 20-7 in Round 24.
The last meeting was a bruising affair with no less than seven Rabbitohs making 30+ tackles.
The Sharks defence was outstanding, permitting only one line break and one try, both to Sam Burgess.
Burgess was the big performer for the Rabbitohs in that game running 19 times for 150 metres. Greg Inglis ran the ball 16 times for 194 metres including seven tackle beaks.
For the Sharks, Paul Gallen continued his spectacular season running 24 times for 233 metres, 39 tackles and four offloads.
Watch the highlights from the last encounter here.
Keys to victory
Todd Carney is the real danger man for the Sharks. Several times last year he sliced the Rabbitohs open and it only takes one tiny lapse in defence for him to capitalise.
Already this year the Rabbitohs look to have improved in defence but any minor weakness can easily be exploited by the Sharks number 6.
Carneys boot cant be undervalued either. His kicks will need to be spot on to prevent Inglis winding up from fullback.
The forward battle will be interesting and with the Rabbitohs missing arguably the sides most attacking big man in Sam burgess, others may need to step up to counter the likes of Gallen and Andrew Fifita.
Issac Luke needs plenty of go-forward to be at his most dangerous and Jeff Lima, Roy Asotasi, Ben Teo and George Burgess will need to make plenty of metres.
George should get a few more minutes this week and if his performance last week is anything to go by hell be a real handful. In his 29 minutes on the park he ran 16 times for 147 metres including a line break, a line break assist, a try and he led the side with six tackle breaks.
John Sutton vs Todd Carney
Given a license to run the ball, Sutton had one of his best seasons in 2012. Todd Carney is one of the most creative halves in the competition and as mentioned previously, can exploit even the smallest defensive error.
Career NRL Games
Ben Teo vs Luke Lewis
Two back rowers finding their feet at new clubs and two men who might meet again come Origin time. Both can be devastating on their day and their battle will be one to watch.
Career NRL Games
Holden Cup Preview
The Rabbitohs suffered a heartbreaking and controversial loss to the Roosters after the (non-existent) siren last week when it appeared that time was up. The siren sounded well after the clock ticked over giving the Roosters a last play which ultimately led to a Jack Noble try and the win.
Dylan Walker at five-eighth was outstanding. He ran the ball just five times but made eight tackle breaks, two line breaks, a line break assist, a try assist and scored two tries.
The effort of Luke Pollard at lock cant be underestimated either. He made a game high 49 tackles at 100% efficiency.
Sides can react one of two obvious ways to a loss of that nature and expect coach Grant Jones to have his troops fired up for the Sharks.
The teams have met once already in a pre-season trial with both clubs leaving out key men. The Rabbitohs were victorious four tries to two but its unwise to use that as a guide to how this game will go.
Cronulla were dominant up forward last week but suffered a 29-16 loss to last years wooden spooners, the Titans.
In a real worry for the Sharks, their opponents only completed 59% of their sets and made 16 errors although Cronulla didnt help their own cause missing a whopping 35 tackles.
The Rabbitohs forward pack was slightly outmuscled by the Roosters and theyll be looking to rectify that this week.
They have one of the most potent backlines in the competition and any extra space their forwards can give them will spell danger for their opponents.