Sunday, 16th June, 2pm kick-off Barlow Park, Cairns
Official Twitter hashtags - #gorabbitohs #NRLSouGld
Tickets available at ticketscairns.com.au
Both the Rabbitohs and the Titans will be in peak condition for the Rumble at the Reef clash on Sunday, after both sides enjoyed a week off with the bye. With both camps also welcoming back three Origin representatives each, Barlow Park will truly be set to rumble.
The first placed Bunnies come in to the match with a win prior to the bye against the Knights 25-18, as do the Titans, who accounted for the North Queensland Cowboys 31-12 at Skilled Park.
Both teams have plenty to play for, with the Rabbitohs spot at the top of the ladder hanging by a single point, while the Titans will be hoping to elevate themselves in to the top four and premiership contention with a win.
To add a bit of spice to the clash, former Rabbitohs back rower Dave Taylor will get his first opportunity to play against his former teammates in what will be an epic forward battle against the likes of Sam and George Burgess.
The Rabbitohs and Titans have met eight times since 2007 with the clubs locked at four games apiece. But the Bunnies go in to this weekends clash having lost only two games during the 2013 season, while the Gold Coast have fallen in five.
The last time the Rabbitohs met the Titans was in round 22 of the 2012 season at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast, with the Rabbitohs producing a hard fought 22 points to 18 victory without the aid of stars Greg Inglis and Isaac Luke.
Without Lukes sneaky charges from dummy half and Inglis kick returns, the Rabbitohs struggled to make yards, but still managed to lead by 16 points late in the match.
A spirited fight back from the Titans late in the afternoon wasnt enough to get the home side over the line though, with the Bunnies holding on to record their sixth straight victory on their march to the 2012 finals series.
Keys to Victory
For the Titans, nullifying Greg Inglis impact on the match will be top of their list of priorities. The Rabbitohs fullback has averaged 173.7 metres per game with the ball in hand, laying the platform for some potent attacking raids. Couple that with Inglis vicious fend and the ability to sniff out a try, and the Maroons and Kanagaroos representative has the potential to cause serious damage to the Titans hopes.
However, the Titans cant afford to focus all of their efforts on Inglis, with the likes of Adam Reynolds and John Sutton providing a solid tactical kicking game upon which the Bunnies can keep the Titans in their own half.
For the Rabbitohs, an 80 minute performance that limits Albert Kellys attacking prowess and the go-forward from Luke Bailey and Nate Myles could see the Rabbitohs take the two competition points and retain top spot on the ladder.
Inglis vs Zillman
Inglis may have the upper hand in metres gained, but Zillman has made more line-breaks, with the Titans fullback recording 13 so far in 2013, with Inglis on eight. When it comes to game-breaking ability though, GI is the Bunnies go to man and an ever-present danger to any team.
Reynolds vs Kelly
Much has been made of Adam Reynolds first two seasons in first grade, but Albert Kelly possesses the same type of game breaking ability as the Rabbitohs half, and with a slight height and weight advantage, plus speed to burn, Kelly will be hard to stop. The Titans halfback is more likely to take on the Rabbitohs line, whereas Reynolds efficient kicking game will conserve energy for the Bunnies.
Burgess vs Harrison
Sam Burgess enjoys a clear size advantage in this match-up, in addition to a higher work-rate Burgess 1368 metres for the season thus far serving as evidence. Ashley Harrison will have his work cut out for him as the giant Englishman throws his frame and opposition players around the field at will.
Rabbitohs (12th) vs Titans (10th)
Saturday, June 15th, Redfern Oval, 2pm kick-off
Official hashtags: #NYCSouGld
The Titans come in to this clash with the Rabbitohs just two points outside the top eight. The Rabbitohs, although currently sitting in 12th position, have not lost touch with the finals only a single point behind the Titans on the Holden Cup Ladder.
The Titans have been aided by some outstanding performances from second rower Hymel Hunt who has blown oppositions away with his ability to make yards. In the Titans last match against the Cowboys, Hunt amassed a whopping 302 metres with the ball in hand, scored a try, broke seven tackles and managed three offloads.
If the Rabbitohs are to be any chance of beating the Titans, stopping Hymel Hunt will go a long way to winning the game.
Bunnies fullback Alex Johnston will also have to continue his good form laying down a solid platform with his kick returns to negate the impact of Hymel. The Rabbitohs speedster managed 112 metres on the back of 13 runs against the Knights in round 12. Johnstons combination with centre Aaron Gray could be a vital weapon for the Bunnies out wide.