Rabbitohs v Warriors
Saturday 3.30pm (AWST)
The South Sydney Rabbitohs return to Perth in Round 13 to take on the New Zealand Warriors for the third successive year at nib Stadium.
Recent encounters have proven to be among the true highlights of the Rabbitohs’ yearly schedule, with a combination of record crowds, high powered action and on-field drama punctuating proceedings.
Rabbitohs prop-forward George Burgess has been surprised by the level of enthusiasm for both the Rabbitohs and the game of Rugby League in Perth during his recent visits.
“It’s amazing to see how many Rabbitohs fans turn out in their numbers and NRL fans as well, so it’s a great thing for the game actually,” said Burgess.
“I was actually surprised because the sport’s not that big over there.
“To see the stadium get packed out like it did the last two years, it’s a great thing for the game over there and you know it was great to see.”
Rabbitohs skipper, Greg Inglis, mirrored the front-rower’s thoughts, citing the annual Perth clash as a special occasion.
“We love playing over in Perth,” said Inglis.
“We get a great crowd and great support over there and the last few years. it’s been terrific.
“It’s been really good – I think we’ve got another year over there in Perth and looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.”
Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire has named an unchanged line-up to the one that toughed it out against the Gold Coast Titans in Round 12.
Burgess will again start the match from the bench, while brother Thomas will start in the front row. Meanwhile in the back-line, the halves pairing of John Sutton and Luke Keary will see another week of action as the two continue to build on their combination.
Coach Maguire will be looking for an improved performance in comparison to Round 12, as his side looks to bag another win, this time on the long road-trip to Western Australia.
“It’s another good opportunity for us to go over and spend a bit of time together and produce the things we’ve been practicing,” said Maguire.
“We’ve (actually) done it a few times now – a lot of the boys have actually experienced it. It’s a trip for us to hone in on the things we want to improve on from last week.
“We had opportunities down there on the Titans’ line. We learnt a lot from the various things we took out of that game so it’s about producing an improved game on that because we’re playing against a team that’s been well-drilled over there and they’ve got a lot of quality across the park the Warriors.”
The Warriors will endure a seven and a half hour, 5300km trip – their longest away trip of the season – when they travel to Perth. But the distance hasn’t perturbed the visitors during their last two WA outings against the men in red and green in 2013 and 2014 according to Inglis.
“The Warriors last year – they played really well. Really good footy,” said Inglis.
“We’ve got to be on our A game to come up against them – they can throw anything at us. It’s going to be a terrific crowd no matter what.”
When it comes to talent in the back-field, few sides boast the kind of prowess that the Rabbitohs and the Warriors have at their disposal. For the Rabbitohs, look no further than Greg Inglis and Alex Johnston – Test players who have proven on numerous occasions that their effective partnership causes damage to opposition defences. But while the Rabbitohs are blessed with that unique combination of size, speed and the ability to sniff out points from nothing, the Warriors are equal to the task.
Sam Tomkins and Manu Vatuvei shape up as the New Zealand side’s response to GI and AJ, and shape up as two of the most dangerous attacking forces on the field. Throw in Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson in the NZ halves, and the Warriors will certainly not be lacking creativity.
Click here to purchase your tickets to see the Rabbitohs take on the New Zealand Warriors at nib Stadium in Perth this Saturday, 3:30pm (local).