NRL and NYC Previews - Rabbitohs vs Sea Eagles - Round Seven, 2013
Friday 26 April, 7:45pm kickoff Brookvale Oval
Official Twitter hashtags - #NRLManSou #gorabbitohs
The Rabbitohs are involved in their second top-three battle in two rounds when they take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in Friday night's feature game of round seven.
The Rabbitohs are currently in third spot on the ladder after falling to competition front-runners, the Melbourne Storm, in round six. The Sea Eagles leap-frogged the Rabbitohs into second position with their seven-point victory over the Sharks last start.
The Sea Eagles have been playing ducks and drakes for two weeks about the possible return of international forward Glenn Stewart this week. He was not named in Geoff Toovey's line up on Tuesday, but it would not surprise if he ran out in a high-numbered jersey on Friday night.
There has also been media speculation about the availability of Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis playing in this match after leaving the field early with a hip complaint when playing for Australia last Friday night. Coach Michael Maguire, High Performance Manager Troy Thomson and even the man himself Greg Inglis have all said he will play this week, so take it as read that the Rabbitohs custodian will take the field.
Coach Maguire named a seven-man bench for this game, with a decision on the three men to miss out on selection expected to be announced at around 6:45pm on Friday night.
The Rabbitohs don't have the best record Sea Eagles over the past ten meetings, having won just three of the past ten games. Only one of those wins came at Brookvale Oval.
However, as Coach Michael Maguire said, this week, that is all in the past.
Watch Coach Maguire's interview by clicking here.
In the last meeting between the sides the Sea Eagles ran out convincing 23 points to 6 winners at Bluetongue Stadium in round 23 last season.
In that game, Sam Burgess was top tackler with 32 tackles at 94% effectiveness, and Chris McQueen made 29 tackles at 100% effectiveness. Burgess also added 15 runs for gains of 106 metres, the Rabbitohs' best, and made three tackle breaks.
The Rabbitohs were without fullback Greg Inglis in this game, as he was serving a suspension for a high shot on the Dragons' Dean Young.
Keys to Victory
The Rabbitohs have built their success this season through their forward pack and South Sydney Members and supporters will be expecting no different on Friday night.
The Rabbitohs forward pack is one of the biggest in the competition, with Manly backrower Anthony Watmough suggesting there should be a 'weight salary cap' to counter the size of the Rabbitohs' 8-17.
The Burgess Brothers have led the charge over the first six weeks, enabling the backs in Adam Reynolds, John Sutton, Greg Inglis and Nathan Merritt to do their thing and score the points.
The Manly forwards have been equally as impressive, despite their efforts to talk up the Rabbitosh in the media this week, and their backs led by Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai and Jorge Taufua have been cashing in their forwards' cheques.
This should be a cracking game in both the forward and the backs, and it may come down to some clever play from dummy half Issac Luke or a game-turning kick from Reynolds that could decide this one.
Greg Inglis vs Brett Stewart
This won't be the only time these two clash this season, with both set to line up for their states in State of Origin. Members and supporters were robbed of seeing this match up last year because of GI's suspension, but these two will play a vital part in the result of this game.
Career NRL Games
Adam Reynolds vs Daly Cherry-Evans
The 2012 Rookie of the Year takes on the 2011 Rookie of the Year. The career projections of these two players could see them line up against each other in State of Origin in future years, but more immediately important is their clash this Friday night at Brookvale Oval.
Career NRL Games
Holden Cup Match Preview
Rabbitohs (15th) vs Sea Eagles (11th)
Friday 26 April, 5:30pm kickoff Brookvale Oval
Official Twitter hashtags - #NYCManSou #gorabbitohs
The Rabbitohs have had an indifferent season so far in 2013. The ladder says the side has only won one game however the Rabbitohs could and should have won two or three other games which would have seen them up and around the top eight after six rounds.
The Rabbitohs have a different looking line up this week with the inclusion of SG Ball under 18s star Alex Johnston on the wing, with centres Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray selected to play in the centres for the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup this weekend.
Manly has not had the best start to the season either, winning only two of their six games played so far this year. Their captain Clinton Gutherson is the star of the side, with he and Walker combining to set up a try for NSW under 20s last weekend in the Under 20s State of Origin clash. They also have a familiar surnamen at lock, with Jamil Hopoate lining up in the maroon and white.
If the Rabbitohs can defend in a stronger fashion than they have in recent matches, and their backs can gel quickly, there is no reason they cannot get over the top of the boys from the other side of the Spit Bridge.
Under 20s Coach Grant Jones has had some assistance from injured NRL centre Matt King in the coaches box in recent weeks, so we will get to see if 'Kingy' has been able to pass on his experience to this young Rabbitohs backline.