NRL & NYC Previews - Rd 11, 2014

Sharks v Rabbitohs

Remondis Stadium

Monday, 7pm

And so the Origin period begins. Is it an opportunity for clubs to make up for lost time and score a few wins with star players donning either blue or maroon? Or, will those players be too sorely missed in 2014? We’re about to find out.

When it comes to the Rabbitohs and the Sharks, a total of five players will be missing the action in the Shire owing to State of Origin – Souths’ Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen and Ben Te’o, and Cronulla’s Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis. For Cronulla, the list goes on, with Andrew Fifita, Todd Carney and Beau Ryan also set to miss the match.

But just ask anyone at Redfern – or Cronulla for that matter – if the loss of their Origin contingent and a number of injuries spells doom, and the answer is a resounding no. South Sydney centre Dylan Walker played the notion down.

"That sort of stuff happens in every single team - injury and rep-selection," said Walker.

"We just can't take any team lightly - it'll still be a hard match-up."

"We have blokes that have played plenty of first grade, so there's plenty of experience coming back into the side with Merro (Nathan Merritt) at fullback."

To watch the full interview with Dylan Walker, please click here.

The return of Nathan Merritt is a huge plus for the Rabbitohs, with all team members keen to see the Club legend don the red and green again after spending some time in the NSW Cup with the North Sydney Bears.

"It's good to get Nathan back in the team," said Sam Burgess.

"I suppose he's not too bad a replacement (for Greg Inglis), so I'm looking forward to that. He's been out of the side the last couple of weeks but he's certainly been working hard.

"The guys are excited for him to be back in the squad and I'm sure he'll do a good job for us."

To watch the full interview with Burgess, please click here.

For all match day information including how to purchase tickets, please click here.

 

Last Time They Met

A penalty goal was the difference between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Sharks Stadium in round 11 2013 – the Sharks scoring a 14-12 win over the top-of-the-table Rabbitohs.

The Sharks were the first side to post points through hooker John Morris. On the back of three repeat sets, Morris slid across field in front of the posts, dummying and finding a small hole. He struggled to get the ball to the turf, but the video referee awarded the try, and Todd Carney's conversion gave the home side a six-nil lead.

A towering bomb from Adam Reynolds caused young Sharks winger Sosaia Feki all sorts of problems, and he knocked the ball on 12 metres out from his line.

The Rabbitohs would make the Sharks pay for their error, scoring three plays later in the left hand corner. Quick hands from Greg Inglis and Dylan Walker saw Bryson Goodwin slide over against his former Club, and Adam Reynolds' sideline conversion leveled the scores at six-all.

Isaac De Gois was held up for the Sharks in the 32nd minute by Ben Lowe, but three plays later they scored through Jayson Bukuya who picked up a rebounded Todd Carney grubber kick. Carney converted to give the Sharks a 12-6 lead going into the break.

The Rabbitohs worked the ball to the left before switching play back to the centre of the field. Sutton found Reynolds who put Sam Burgess into a hole, who went on to beat three defenders to score to the right of the uprights in the 44th minute. Reynolds converted to level the scores at 12-all.

Carney kicked a 59th minute penalty goal to establish a two-point lead for the home side with just over a quarter of the game to go – the Rabbitohs going down by 14-12.

To watch all the highlights from the last time these two teams met, please click here.

 

Keys to Victory

For the Rabbitohs, it’s all about completing sets. By their own admission, the Rabbitohs have fallen victim to silly errors during the open half of the season that has in turn put mounting pressure on the Rabbitohs’ side.

Mercifully, Souths’ defence has proven on two separate occasions that their defence can be the best in the league, against both the Panthers and the Broncos – both of which resulted in victory. A similar defensive effort would no doubt produce another two points on the competition ladder.

With Inglis out of the match, Nathan Merritt replaces him at fullback, with 2013 City representative Joel Reddy coming on to the wing. Throw recent debutant Alex Johnston into the mix, and the Rabbitohs have a completely new-look back-three that will need to find its rhythm quickly against the Sharks.The Cronulla halves pairing of Jeff Robson and Daniel Holdsworth may be unheralded, but is nonetheless capable of inflicting damage on Souths’ new-look back-three.

 

Key Matchups

Sam Burgess v Chris Heighington

Adam Reynolds v Jeff Robson

 

NYC

Sharks v Rabbitohs

Remondis Stadium

Monday, 4.45PM

The South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC side defeated the Melbourne Storm in emphatic fashion by 36-8 at ANZ Stadium last Friday night, showing great patience and attacking prowess in the process.

The Rabbitohs enjoyed a 26-0 lead at half-time, out-playing their higher ranked opponents in all facets of the game.

But despite the positives, round 11 shapes as a danger-game for the eighth placed Rabbitohs against the 12th placed Sharks. Cronulla desperately need a win on the back of a five-game losing streak – their last win coming way back in round five against the New Zealand Warriors by 32-26.

The Rabbitohs have enjoyed a mixed first half to their season, but have won three of their last five leading into round 11, leaving the red and green’s with the ascendency.

Players to Watch: Rabbitohs winger Tom Hughes and fullback Irae Simone played pivotal roles for the side against the Storm last week. Hughes bagged a try-scoring double, while Simone knocked over six goals from six attempts – most of which were from the touch-line. Between them, the pair bagged 20 of the Rabbitohs’ 36 points. Expect them to do similar damage this week.

For all match day information including how to purchase tickets, please click here.