NRL & NYC Previews - Rd 24, 2014

Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Saturday 23 August, ANZ Stadium
7:30pm: NRL Kick Off

Looking at this week’s team sheets, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Saturday’s match against the North Queensland Cowboys bears more resemblance to a monster movie  than a rugby league clash. Two giant packs are set to go toe-to-toe in a match that means plenty on both sides of half-way.

For the Rabbitohs, Saturday represents the final home-game of the regular season – a final opportunity to get it right in front of a home crowd, but also, the next step in staying in touch with the NRL’s top-four – victory is a must for the red and green’s.

For North Queensland, a top-eight finish is well and truly on the line. Currently sitting in seventh on 26 competition points, a loss for the Cowboys could spell the end of their finals hopes, with both the Warriors and Eels sitting closely behind them on equal points. Victory is a must.

The men from Townsville have won four of their last five matches leading into this week’s round 24 clash, including a 64-6 thrashing of the Wests Tigers just two weeks ago. The Cowboys went down by only a single point against the third-placed Panthers on Monday night.

 

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS NOW to see the Rabbitohs take on the Cowboys in their final home-game of the 2014 season proper!

 

But the Rabbitohs have hit a patch of their own good form, winning their last five consecutive matches beginning with round 19’s defeat of the Eels at Paramatta, before going on to defeat competition front-runners, Manly, and most recently, the Brisbane Broncos.

For Rabbitohs like Chris McQueen, despite being wary of players the calibre of Johnathan Thurston – who will no doubt play a pivotal role for the Cowboys – an equally big threat is the Cowboys’ imposing pack of forwards, despite missing Test prop James Tamou.

“With their forwards, their just big, strong lads and they’re just going to run hard, they’re going to play with intensity,” said McQueen.

“We’re definitely aware of how big and strong they are. They’ve got the Australian front rower’s, they’ve got Origin players, so we’re definitely aware that they’ve got a big, strong forward pack.”

To see Chris McQueen’s full interview, please click here.

The Rabbitohs will be without Ben Te’o, following the back-rower accepting the early guilty plea for a dangerous tackle earlier in the week. But with Kyle Turner returning to the fold this week, Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire, is far from concerned.

“We’ve got some quality coming in,” said Maguire.

“Kyle Turner – he’s actually been doing a great for us. We actually sat him out last week with a few things that he was working at with his body and his head. He’s come in and he’ll do a great job for us.”

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

 

Last Time They Met

The South Sydney Rabbitohs went down to the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville in round 16 of the 2014 season by 20-18.

Despite keeping the Cowboys scoreless in the second half, a horror start for the Rabbitohs proved too much to overcome after finding themselves down 14-0 inside the first ten minutes of play.

The Cowboys put their best foot forward right from the kick-off, with thekicks hang-time allowing them to force the Rabbitohs deep into their own half. From the next set, Mathew Wright opened the scoring after a Johnathan Thurston bomb was tapped back by Curtis Rona for the centre to score. Thurston added the extras from out wide to make it six-nil after just three minutes.

Things didn’t get easier for Souths, when Nathan Merritt spilled the ball on a kick-return in part thanks to a high-shot from the Cowboys. But referee Ben Cummins ruled a knock-on – the decision proving costly for the Rabbits immediately with Tariq Sims crashing over just two tackles later. Thurston hooked the conversion attempt, leaving the score at 10-0.

If Souths thought that their bad luck was over, the ensuing kick-off proved them wrong, with Adam Reynolds’ kick being taken over the touch-line on the full by Rona. North Queensland immediately made the Rabbitohs pay, with Antonio Winterstein crossing in the corner to make it 14-0 after just nine minutes.

After a forgettable opening to the match for the visitors, the Rabbitohs finally got over the stripe when Adam Reynolds changed direction before stabbing a grubber-kick into the in-goal for Chris McQueen to swoop on and score. Reynolds converted from close range to make it 14-6 after 20 minutes.

The Cowboys hit back seven minutes later though, when Rona desperately batted a kick back in to Wright, who picked up his second of the night just inside the touch-line. Thurston sprayed the conversion attempt, leaving the score at 18-6 with 11 minutes of the first half remaining.

A penalty against the Rabbitohs within kicking distance allowed Thurston to kick his side a further two points ahead from short-range to take the teams to the break with the home-side leading 20-6.

On the resumption, birthday boy Jason Clark powered over in fine style under the sticks to narrow the gap. Reynolds added the extras to make the score a more respectable 20-12.

Both sides traded blows as they looked to gain an advantage. With the clock winding down, Greg Inglis broke through the Cowboys line before being dragged down 15 metres out. But a John Sutton grubber into the in-goal sat up well for Inglis who planted the ball over the line to make it a two-point ball-game with Reynolds’ conversion.

Reynolds’ towering bomb claimed another victim in the form of Mathew Wright with 10 minutes remaining – giving the Rabbitohs perfect field position, but the red and green’s failed to come up with points.

The Rabbitohs had a range of opportunities late in the game, but the Cowboys held on to come out on top – ending Souths’ four-game winning streak.

 

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS NOW to see the Rabbitohs take on the Cowboys in their final home-game of the 2014 season proper!

 

Matchups

 

Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Saturday 23 August, ANZ Stadium
5:15pm: NYC Kick Off

After going down in the dying minutes of round 23, the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NYC side will take on the twelfth-placed North Queensland Cowboys this Saturday night as they look to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Rabbitohs’ NYC went down to the Brisbane Broncos by 36-32 at Redfern Oval in a nail-biter last Saturday in a match that was snatched away at the end by a patient Broncos outfit.

With just under 10 minutes left, the Rabbitohs were in control of the match, but quick tries to the third placed Brisbane side put them back in the match to claim victory, despite a spirited final throw of the dice from Souths.

Now placed 10th on 24 competition points, the Rabbitohs find themselves just two points out of the Holden Cup’s top-eight, with three wins out of their last five matches.

The Cowboys come into the round with the same record from their past five matches, but sit in twelfth on 20 competition points.

 

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS NOW to see the Rabbitohs take on the Cowboys in their final home-game of the 2014 season proper!