PREVIEW: Rd 8, 2015
Rabbitohs v Raiders
Barlow Park, Cairns
The Rabbitohs return to Cairns for the third consecutive year on Sunday in what has fast-become a highlight of the red and green calendar. But the 2015 instalment of the clash will boast a little extra tinge of green, with the Canberra Raiders turning out for the annual clash.
As though heading to Cairns wasn’t enough, the clash will be a feature of the NRL’s 2015 ANZAC Round, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landings – the Rabbitohs set to wear a commemorative jersey for the occasion.
Rabbitohs skipper, Greg Inglis, will lead out the Club for the second time in his career at Barlow Park having deputised in the role for the corresponding clash in 2014.
Based on the previous years, he Test fullback is expecting another memorable turn-out at the Rabbitohs’ North Queensland home,
“I’m expecting a great turn-out,” said Inglis of the match.
“It’s a great day for fans, it’s a great day for family, it’s a great day for kids to be out there. Last few years I think we had 16,000 and 14,000 people turn out. It’s a great turn-out, it’s a great atmosphere.”
But the significance of the match doesn’t stop there, with Chris McQueen set to play his 100th NRL and Rabbitohs match when he crosses the white line.
During his time in the top grade, McQueen has evolved from a powerful winger to a Queensland State of Origin forward and Rabbitohs Premiership winner. For McQueen, it’s been a long road to reach his 100th match.
“This is my seventh year at the Club – I guess it probably has taken a little while,” said McQueen.
“I had a few serious injuries and was in and out of first grade for a while, so I do feel like it’s taken a long time and when I made my debut I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get here. Now I’m here.”
Playing back in his home state this week, McQueen will have the support of plenty of family when he crosses the white stripe and achieves the milestone.
“It’s great to get to play up in Queensland,” said McQueen.
“My whole family’s going to be up there – my dad actually lives in Cairns, mum’s flying up from Brisbane, one of my brother’s lives in Cairns. It’s the perfect way to celebrate.”
But it while the milestone is an important one for the damaging back-rower, McQueen is under no illusions as to the task ahead of him and his teammates after going down in their last two appearances.
“We’ve obviously had a couple of losses in a row and it’s been frustrating for us because I feel like we’ve been training really hard,” said McQueen.
“We’ve been ripping in and we’re not quite getting the results. So we’ve got to continue to train hard and we’ll get those results soon.
“I think it’s just a bit of our discipline – giving away too many penalties, too many incomplete sets. When you don’t have the ball and you’re giving away too many cheap penalties it makes it tough for yourself, so we just need to tighten up that discipline.”
Spotlight – The Halves
While the partnership between Luke Keary and Glenn Stewart is still in its infancy, there have been promising signs from the creative pair. Stewart has proven to be a fine organiser while also continuing on playing his role as a prime metre-gainer for the side. For Keary, being at first receiver will no doubt condition the playmaker when it comes to decision making. No doubt his time in the number seven will only be a benefit to him and the red and greens
Look to both these players to get plenty of ball out to Dylan Walker this week, whose return to the squad came amid cyclonic conditions in Cronulla last Monday night – conditions far from conducive to the playing of an expansive game. But with a dry and hard track at Barlow Park, all that could be about to change as the playmakers link with the Test centre as well as winger, Alex Johnston.
The Rabbitohs will take on the Canberra Raiders at Barlow Park in Cairns this Sunday 26 April. Kick-off is at 4pm local time. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.ticketscairns.com.au now! For more information on game day, please click here.
Message from the Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Small Business
The Hon Kate Jones MP
Welcome to Barlow Park as Cairns hosts the 2015 NRL Premiership Round 8 clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canberra Raiders.
The Palaszczuk Government proudly supports this event through Tourism and Events Queensland recognising the part such events play in driving tourism in Queensland’s regional areas.
Last year around 11,500 rugby league fans visited Barlow Park, creating an exciting atmosphere throughout Cairns while also boosting the local tourism economy.
Sporting events such as this help profile Queensland as a premier events destination and contribute to the state’s tourism economy.
I congratulate the NRL and local community for supporting this event. I hope you enjoy the match and encourage visitors to stay on in Cairns to enjoy this fantastic destination.
The Hon Kate Jones MP
Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Small Business