The Rabbitohs will open their Auckland Nines campaign against traditional rivals the St George Illawarra Dragons in Game 8 of the tournament at Eden Park.

In a match that could well serve as a small insight into next week’s Charity Shield, the Rabbitohs will look to get a good start in Pool Red.

But it won’t be an easy task for the Rabbitohs, who will line up against a Dragons side that boasts speed to burn in the form of Josh Dugan and Jason Nightingale – among others. Add the size and destructive running of Trent Merrin and the Dragons will be a difficult proposition for the Rabbitohs.

Souths however have speed and strength of their own. Ben Te’o is more than equal to the task of facing off against Merrin, while Nathan Merritt and Dylan Walker provide a wealth of speed that will wreak havoc in the Dragons’ backline.

 

Keys to Victory:

Both the Dragons and Rabbitohs hold a distinct advantage over previous teams who have taken the field today. With every match comes a greater understanding of useful tactics that can be employed.

The better exponent of the short kick-off will no doubt gain a massive advantage in this matchup, while the willingness to throw the ball around and try things will also hold both sides in good stead.

Expect Dylan Walker to come into his own in the reduced format.