NRL & Holden Cup Previews: Round 16 vs Raiders

Round 16

Rabbitohs vs Raiders

Friday 28th June

ANZ Stadium, kick off 7:30pm



Its first plays eighth this Friday as the South Sydney Rabbitohs look to extend their three-point competition lead, while the Raiders fight to stay in touch with the top-eight with Newcastle just two points behind.


The Raiders have shown mixed form leading in to round 16, beating both the Panthers and the Broncos successively, but succumbing to the Tigers last week. But despite the mixed form, Canberra command respect, having beaten two of the top three teams, in the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters so far in 2013, effectively making the Rabbitohs the only missing scalp.


The Rabbitohs will be bolstered by the return of Origin representatives Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Chris McQueen and Ben Teo after the side managed a solid win against the Eels without them. But the Rabbitohs Origin contingent may yet feel the effects of fatigue after the bruising Origin encounter. The replacement Rabbitohs who turned out against the Eels went a long way to staking a claim for the temporarily vacant positions though, with the likes of Justin Hunt, Dylan Farrell and Thomas Burgess impressing.



Keys to Victory:

The Raiders must halt the Rabbitohs ability to gain metres. With a huge forward pack who individually manage to average almost 150 metres per match and with a fullback who can do the same Souths can wear down opposition defences with their size and speed.


Keeping the ball away from the rampaging Greg Inglis will be a key feature of the Raiders kicking game, with the returning Maroon able to create opportunities from any position on the field. Look to Terry Campese to continually kick the ball over the dead-ball line.


For the Rabbitohs, shutting down the attacking ability of Campese and fullback Reece Robinson could go a long way to containing the Raiders, with both players having the ability to change the game at will. The Rabbitohs could look to their own attack to alleviate the Raiders attacking prowess though with the likes of Adam Reynolds, Issac Luke and John Sutton, whose own work with the ball in hand in addition to a pinpoint kicking game could serve to starve the Raiders of possession.


Key Matchups:

Inglis vs Robinson:


Both fullbacks have the ability to change a game, but few have the speed, size and power that Greg Inglis possesses. Robinson has been the toast of the nations capital since the Souths junior filled the void left by the departing Josh Dugan. His speed, step and vision have been a feature of the Raiders game, however in a head to head battle with a Greg Inglis in career best form, its difficult to see GI coming off second best.





McQueen vs Papalii

McQueen and Papalii come in to this match off solid games for the Maroons mid-week. Both are exceptional runners of the football, with McQueen having the added bonus of speed, while Papalii brings strength.





Sutton vs Campese:

Currently two of the best five-eighths in the game, John Sutton and Terry Campese are also among the biggest. Sutton has enjoyed career best form in 2013, while Campese has struggled in recent seasons with injury. But after coming out in the Canberra media during the week, saying that the Raiders 2012 finals loss to the Rabbitohs still hurts, it is unlikely that Campeses lengthy stint on the sidelines will have any adverse effects on his performance.





NYC

Rabbitohs vs Raiders,

*Match postponed due to weather. More details to come*



Both the Raiders and Rabbitohs come in to round 16 off losses, but the high flying Raiders will be a difficult team to stop in the predicted wet conditions.


The Raiders currently sit first on the Holden Cup ladder just one point ahead of the Penrith Panthers, while the Rabbitohs sit in 12th spot.


The Rabbitohs will be boosted by Alex Johnston who will back up after playing a role in New South Wales under 18s victory over the Maroons, with the flying fullback bagging a double playing on the wing for the Blues.