Rabbitohs v Eels
Friday, May 22, 7:45pm
The Rabbitohs will renew hostilities with the Parramatta Eels on Friday night for the 120th time since 1947 when the two meet at ANZ Stadium in Round 11.
With skipper, Greg Inglis, the only Rabbitoh missing through Origin selection, Michael Maguire’s side will enjoy the benefit of a settled outfit that has seen the inclusion the likes of Joel Reddy on the wing and Jason Clark at lock – the Souths Junior set to play his 100th game for the Club.
Alex Johnston will slot in at fullback to replace Inglis, while the halves partnership of Luke Keary and John Sutton will see its second consecutive week in action. In the forward pack, Cameron McInnes will again start at hooker with Issac Luke set to inject himself later on in the match to full effect.
Despite coming off a loss – going down to the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne – Head Coach Maguire was pleased with aspects of his side’s showing and is intent on improvement this week.
“There were areas in our attack that we were pleased with,” said Maguire.
“Our execution at times unfortunately cost us – we had opportunities there but we were pretty thorough in how we reviewed that game because we got a lot out of that for our attack, but defensively we’re heading in the right direction.”
The Rabbitohs will face an Eels outfit equally determined to get back in the winners’ circle this week after going down in their last three matches.
“I think every game in the NRL is a game you’ve got to make sure you’re turning up for,” said Maguire.
“That’s been shown from a number of games for us this year where if you’re slightly not where you need to be, you’re going to get beaten – there’s no difference this Friday.
“We need to make sure that we’re spot on our game and that’s exactly what we’re planning to do. We’ve got young boys coming through like Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray is starting to show his form now – he’s played two weeks in a row now and he’s been performing well.”
Front rower, Thomas Burgess, believes that he and his teammates are not far off hitting the type of form they know they are capable of, with the Englishman pointing to defence as being the key to success.
“Our defence is the biggest thing for us – we just want to get that right,” said Burgess.
“We’re not far off. We just need to keep training hard – that’s the main thing. This season, anyone can beat anyone. It doesn’t matter where you are in the table.
“You’re always a bit filthy after a loss, but you have got to grow from losses, you can’t dwell on them. You’ve got to take what you can from them and move on.”
Friday Night Football returns this Friday night when the Rabbitohs take on the Parramatta Eels in a Round 11 blockbuster at ANZ Stadium. Pre-purchase your tickets now!
Spotlight – Alex Johnston
With GI in Queensland camp, Johnston gets his opportunity to shine in the number one jersey for the Rabbitohs. With an incredible turn of pace coupled with his safe hands under the high-ball, expect Johnson to ease into the role and link up with recent debutant winger, Aaron Gray in the back-line.