NRL & NYC Previews - Rd 9, 2014

Titans v Rabbitohs

Saturday 10 May 2014

5:30pm – NRL Kick Off

Forget Clash of the Titans, Saturday’s forward battle between Souths and the Gold Coast will be an epic that deserves to be caught on film and watched over and over. With names like Burgess, McQueen and Te’o set to lock horns with Myles, Taylor and Bird, this is a match-up not to be missed.

The equal-first placed Titans will take on a seventh placed Rabbitohs side flying high after defeating the Broncos on their home-turf in round eight. For Chris McQueen, the battle is one that the Queenslander is eagerly waiting for, citing the importance of the forward battle.

“The battle of the forwards – whoever’s forwards can be dominant, that’ll probably go a long way towards winning the game, so I think that’s one of our focuses every week, winning that battle in the middle,” said McQueen.

With suggestions doing the rounds in the game’s lead-up that the Titans will look to unsettle the Rabbitohs, McQueen dismissed the notion despite the Gold Coast’s reputation of liking a bit of ‘niggle’.

"They are sort of a 'niggly' team I guess," said McQueen.

"For us it's about not letting them get under our skin and going out there and doing what we do best and just not buying into anything they try to do to us."

To see the full interview with Chris, please click here.

Others, like Bryson Goodwin, are simply looking forward to seeing what the big men up-front have in store for them.

"It's going to be exciting," said Goodwin.

"We've got a big pack - they've got a few big boys there too and they've been playing really well too, so our boys are going to have to be up for it."

To see the full interview with Bryson, please click here.

But the classic matchups don’t quite end up front, with both backlines set to provide exhilarating football – among them, David Mead coming up against Greg Inglis, Albert Kelly against Adam Reynolds, and many more.

Can the Rabbitohs upset the Titans and move a rung up the ladder? Tune in and find out.

For all match-day information, please click here.

 

Last Time They Met

The South Sydney Rabbitohs bounced back from a surprise loss to the Dragons with an emphatic 32-4 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in Queensland in round 20 of the 2013 competition in the last time the two sides met.

The men in red and green survived a second half resurgence from the Titans to record the win. The night was also being the stage for a number of important events including; the marking of Luke Keary’s first try-scoring double in the NRL, the successful return of former Test winger Matt King, who proved why he is an integral member of the Rabbitohs team, and John Sutton playing his 200th game for the Club.

Sam Burgess opened the scoring for the night in the 11th minute, with the giant Englishman showing great footwork close to the line to evade the Titans defence before crashing over. Reynolds added the extras to give Souths a 6-0 lead.

The Rabbitohs showed plenty of respect to the home side, extending their lead in the 33rd minute through a penalty goal to Adam Reynolds after John Sutton was taken out by Ben Ridge to take their lead to 8 points.

The decision to take the two points proved a masterstroke, with George Burgess scoring one of his signature tries from close range. Reynolds made no mistake to give the Rabbitohs a 14-0 lead at half time.

Souths came out strong in the second half, with Sam Burgess adding his name to the score card after a Reynolds attacking raid was halted by a Greg Bird strip. But Burgess played the whistle, picking up the loose ball to score. Reynolds shaved the inside of the upright from out wide to give the Rabbitohs a 20 point advantage.

Two penalties to the Titans piggy-backed the home side up the field before Kevin Gordon managed the Gold Coast’s first try of the night, bringing the score to 20-4.

But the Rabbitohs’ confidence and lead was boosted after the returning Matt King combined with Luke Keary – King taking off down the short side before throwing a speculator back on the inside to Keary who touched down out wide. Reynolds again added the extras to make the score 26-4.

Keary was at it again six minutes from full time, with the replacement half showing and going before slicing through the Titans defence and running 60 metres to score under the sticks. Dylan Walker was thrown the ball to take the shot, with the Souths junior notching up his maiden first grade goal to seal the match up at 32 points to 4.

To watch all the highlights from the two sides’ last meeting, please click here.

 

Keys to Victory

The Titans are flying high at the pointy end of the competition ladder while the Rabbitohs may have experienced a turning-point in their season after defeating the Broncos at Suncorp in a thrilling match. With both teams coming into the round hot, this could well be one of the games of the year.

For the Rabbitohs, to begin with, an 80 minute performance will go a long way to scoring a victory. They’ve shown glimpses of their capabilities over the last eight weeks, but it’s time to take the best of all those performances and Frankenstein them. The defence of the round six match against Penrith, coupled with the grit of the Brisbane win, along with the best of their attacking fluidity will make for potent force.

Stopping the Titans begins up front though, by halting the yardage of players such as Nate Myles and Greg Bird. Contain them, and Albert Kelly, William Zillman and David Mead have no space to run.

 

Key Matchups

Adam Reynolds v Albert Kelly

Albert Kelly is a game-breaker. Give this man half an inch and he’ll turn your defensive line inside out with a single step. Adam Reynolds on the other hand – while also possessing the ability to turn a game on its head – generally works better within the constructs of Michael Maguire’s well-oiled machine. But it’s Reynolds’ point-scoring capability that is most important, the little halfback managing to consistently be near the top of the NRL’s point-scoring tally in large part thanks to his deadly accurate right foot.

Nate Myles v George Burgess

George Burgess is now undoubtedly one of the game’s great sights when it comes to running the football. A regular in the ‘most metres gained’ category, the big Englishman has made a habit of drawing in four and five defenders at a time – stretching defensive lines and creating gaps. But despite the attention, Burgess still managed to score virtually untouched against the Broncos. A key man for the red and green’s and great tip for first try-scorer.

 

NYC

Titans v Rabbitohs

Saturday 10 May 2014

3:15pm- Holden Cup Kick Off

It’s now or never for the Rabbitohs’ NYC side. Currently sitting in eleventh position, Ben Gardiner’s side is just two points out of the top eight after going down to the Broncos by 20-12 at Suncorp Stadium.

The side has now notched up three wins from eight appearances, a tally that doesn’t quite tell the full story about Gardiner’s men and the effort being shown on a weekly basis.

Admittedly, the Rabbitohs’ under 20’s have been decimated, not by injury, but by promotion. Missing Captain Cameron McInnes – currently deputising in first grade at hooker for Apisai Koroisau – has left big shoes to fill.

But this week is a whole new ball-game against the 14th placed Titans. With superior defence in comparison to the Titans, one would think that there’s plenty of reasons right there to back a Rabbitohs victory. But the Titans are no strangers to scoring points, having scored 22 more than Souths in their eight outings this year.

Danger-man

Rabbitohs lock Cheyne Whitelaw has chewed through a great deal of work in recent weeks. He currently tops the whol NYC competition in; tackles, runs, decoys, supports and charge downs. However it was his performance against Brisbane that’s most telling, making an incredible 64 tackles. Expect Whitelaw to play an integral role for the side this week and moving forward.

For all match-day information, please click here.