PREVIEW: Round 19, 2015
Dragons v Rabbitohs
Sydney Cricket Ground
Rugby League returns to its former headquarters this Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Men of League Heritage Round, with a traditional match-up to boot between the Dragons and the Rabbitohs – two Clubs that have written incredible history at the venue.
The match will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Grand Final between the two Clubs in front of a record SCG crowd quite literally hanging from the rafters. It was a match that may have been won by the Saints, but one that also paved the way for Souths’ next Golden Era.
Gallery: 1965 Grand Final Gallery
Merch Alert: 2015 Rabbitohs Heritage Jersey
But while history will be celebrated on Saturday, the business of creating new history is the highest priority on Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire’s mind.
After enjoying the bye in Round 18, Maguire says his men are fresh and raring to go, further bolstered in terms of depth by the return of the likes of Kyle Turner for the North Sydney Bears.
“Obviously (we) had a break that allowed the boys to freshen up,” said Maguire.
“We’ve got a real fit squad at the moment. Training at the moment is very enjoyable – a lot of energy out there and the boys are really enjoying it.
“There’s a lot of competition around training and obviously going into games. We’ve got Kyle Turner coming back in reserve grade so it’s allowing him, after a long spell I guess with what he’s had to go through, he’s come back with great spirits and I guess it says a lot about him and his determination.”
With the 2015 State of Origin Series now also out of the way, Rabbitohs skipper Greg Inglis is now focused solely on the rest of the season with the Rabbitohs.
“Greg brings a lot as we know,” said Maguire.
“He’s a great leader and a great player for us, but I think to have everyone back and really focussed on what we need to do this week is what we’re looking at."
The match will see the return of Tim Grant and Cameron McInnes – McInnes set to take the place of Issac Luke who is out owing to suspension for a dangerous throw.
“Timmy Grant’s actually grown immensely throughout our team,” admitted Maguire.
“From week to week, we’ve seen Tim’s performances lift and he’s obviously now starting there for us.
“To have Cam McInnes come in – he’s had a number of games now and he’s another great addition. Every time he comes and performs, he puts a lot of energy into the team and the way he plays adds a lot to us.
“For us it’s about working hard for each other and getting back into the things we do and practice.”
The Dragons meanwhile have had a rough ride in recent weeks, losing their last five encounters with their last win coming way back in Round 12 against Cronulla. But with the Dragons also set to be bolstered by the return of State of Origin stars, Maguire knows that the Red V won't be an easy prospect.
“They’re getting a lot of their quality players back and we know exactly what type of game we’re facing this weekend,” said Maguire.
“But it’s really up to us and how we go about things.”
The Rabbitohs will take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at the SCG this Saturday night at 7:30pm. Click here to purchase your tickets.
Spotlight: Greg Inglis
The sight of Greg Inglis leaping over the SCG dead-ball line and batting the ball back into the hands of Mark Gasnier in the 2008 Centenary Test is just ome of countless memorable moments at the famous ground. Now, with the Rabbitohs skipper’s Queensland Origin duties concluded for the year after a Series that saw the very best come out in him, GI is ready to take on the remainder of the NRL season. Expect the Test, Origin and All Star player to benefit from solely focusing on Club football. If his recent Origin form is anything to go, Saturday night could provide even more magic moments at the SCG.
The fullback will face off against New South Wales fullback Josh Dugan in what is certain to be one of the key battles of the match.