Cowboys v Rabbitohs
Saturday 28 June 2014
7:30pm – NRL Kick Off

The Rabbitohs’ last trip to Townsville may not have been a fruitful experience in 2013, but the opportunity has fast come around to atone for the loss when Souths take on North Queensland at 1300 Smiles Stadium.

Rabbitohs Coach Michael Maguire named his best available 13 for the clash earlier in the week, with Kyle Turner retaining his spot in the centres this week, allowing Chris McQueen to come back into the starting side at second row, while Alex Johnston again finds himself on the wing for his sixth start in the top grade.

After an injury scare in round 13 against the Warriors, Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis took his place in Queensland’s Origin Game II outfit and is fit to play against the Cowboys.

And Inglis’ selection couldn’t have been timelier, with the Cowboys set to start international play-maker Johnathan Thurston at halfback as opposed to his regular five-eighth position. Thurston will no doubt play a pivotal role for the Cowboys as they look to snap a two-game losing streak – key to which will be a strong kicking game from Thurston.

In a small set=back for the Cowboys, Test stars Matt Scott and Brent Tate will both miss the match through injury.

The Rabbitohs will be up and raring to go in the round 16 clash, having earned a much deserved week off with last week’s bye.

Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire cited that the bye couldn’t have come at a better time for his team after recently enduring some bruising encounters.

“We’ve had a good break,” said Maguire.

“The boys obviously needed it after a few sort of tough weeks going into the bye – we had a few bumps and bruises. But they’ve all recovered really well, so now we’re really focussed about going up to North Queensland and performing the way we can.”

To see Michael Maguire’s full interview, please click here.

Chris McQueen earlier in the week said the bye was ideal preparation from a player’s perspective.

“I think having the bye is an ideal preparation,” said McQueen.

“Given that we had a few boys involved in Origin, it just gives us a chance to freshen up after what I think was a positive few weeks for the team by getting four wins straight. It’s important to take advantage of that opportunity to get your body right and I think we’ve done that.”

To read more from Chris McQueen, please click here.

It’s a must win game for the 10th placed Cowboys who are looking to keep their top eight hopes alive, while for the Rabbitohs, victory could see them climb as high as equal first.

 

Last Victory over the Cowboys

South Sydney took outright first position on the NRL ladder after accounting for North Queensland in round nine of the 2013 season – winning their eighth game from nine starts that year in the process.

While the Rabbitohs were slow to start at ANZ Stadium, scintillating performances from Greg Ingiis, as well as Sam and George Burgess laid the platform for what The Rabbitohs described as an ‘ugly win’.

Rabbitohs Coach Michael Maguire reflected those thoughts post match.

“Yeah It was a bit of a disjointed game,” said the Souths mentor.

“I’m sure Sutto (captain John Sutton) will probably agree that it was an uglier game that we played, but we were able to get through those games at the moment, so we need to make sure we’re better than that.

“I’m proud we came out the right end, but I know the boys in the changeroom aren’t overly happy with how we played tonight. They’ve got high standards this group, they’re very very competitive amongst themselves. We've just got to make sure we look at areas we can get better for next week.”

Despite the side being disappointed with their performance, there was plenty for Souths fans to be pleased with as the club continued to gather momentum.

Greg Inglis scored a double and ran for a staggering 217metres with the ball in hand, while the Burgess brother’s amassed a whopping 321 metres between them.

 

Keys to Victory

Despite missing both Test prop Matt Scott, the Cowboys still pose a significant threat to the Rabbitohs up front. James Tamou will be the North Queensland side’s go-to man when it comes to making yardage. Expect Tamou to receive plenty of attention when the Rabbits defend.

By shutting down Tamou and remaining Cowboys forwards such as Jason Taumalolo and Tariq Sims and Johnathan Thurston will have little room to move. Don’t be fooled though – Thurston isn’t one to buckle under pressure. Consistent pressure from Rabbitohs markers in the back-end of the tackle count coupled with wrapping the ball up will limit the star pivot’s influence.

 

Matchups

Cowboys v Rabbitohs
Saturday 28 June 2014
4:45pm- Holden Cup Kick Off

The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ under 20’s NYC side will travel to Townsville to take on the Cowboys on Saturday night in a bid to propel them into the competitions top eight.

The Cowboys sit in 13th position on the ladder just four points behind the ninth-placed Rabbitohs on 16 points.

Both teams are coming off losses in their last game’s, but it is Ben Gardiner’s side that comes into the match with a defensive advantage. The Cowboys have leaked 539 points in the opening 16 rounds of the competition, while the Rabbitohs have conceded 354.

Look to Cameron McInnes to take control of this match from dummy-half with his first grade experience, while half Wallace Tangiiti will no doubt get the Rabbits on the board with his pin-point kicking.

Please note that the kick off time for the Toyota Cup game tomorrow  between the Cowboys and Rabbitohs at 1300Smiles Stadium has been moved forward from 5.15pm to 4.45 pm to allow for the Laurie Spina Shield to be played.