Cowboys v Rabbitohs

1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville

Thursday, Kick-off, 7.45pm

 

Thursday Night Football returns for the Rabbitohs this week as the men in red and green venture to Townsville to take on the ladder-leading North Queensland Cowboys in Round 23 of the Telstra Premiership.

It’s Adam Reynolds against Johnathan Thurston, George Burgess against James Tamou and equal first versus fourth on the competition ladder as the sides look to fine-tune their games leading into the back-end of the regular season.

Both sides come into the Round having gone down in their last respective outings – the Cowboys losing out to the Sharks in Round 22, while the Rabbitohs went down to the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.

Both Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire, and Cowboys Coach Paul Green have cited the week as an opportunity to get the little things right ahead of the blockbuster top-four clash.

“For us it’s about making sure we control the things we do,” said Maguire.

“The way we play and the way we go about things is up to us. We’re very focused around ourselves – we’ve obviously got an opposition there that are performing well and (have) been leading the competition for a while.

 

Watch Maguire’s Line-up for Round 23

 

“For us it’s about the things that we can control, and that’s playing at our best.”

While Rabbitohs back-rower, Glenn Stewart, will miss the clash owing to a one-match suspension, the men in red and green will be bolstered by the return of Indigenous All Star, Kyle Turner, who missed last week’s game following a concussion in his previous outing.

Turner will add some welcome sting to Souths’ defence, picking up where Stewart left off.

“It’s good to have Kyle back – he was pretty close last game but obviously you’ve got to go through the protocols that are in front of us,” said Maguire.

“To have Kyle back in, it’s a big bonus for us and there’s a few others there that we’ve brought into the squad on the extended bench.”

As the regular season draws to a close, Maguire’s men will no doubt use this week’s trip to Townsville to bond. But ask any member of the Rabbitohs squad, and the number one priority and focus is firmly on getting the two points against the Cowboys.  

“The boys enjoy getting together but we’re pretty focussed around what we need to do,” said Maguire.

“The down-time – they have a good laugh together and they enjoy each other’s company, but obviously we’ve got to go up there with a focussed mind-set around what we need to do.”

 

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NYC

Cowboys v Rabbitohs

1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville

Thursday, Kick-off, 4.30pm

 

The Rabbitohs NYC (under 20s) side venture to Townsville this week to take on the second-placed North Queensland Cowboys in Rd 23 of the Holden Cup.

Challenges won’t come much bigger for Troy Finch’s men in 2015 – the current crop of Cowboys are currently the highest scoring team in the NYC competition by an impressive 62 points, having scored a total of 801 points so far this season while having leaked just 368.

The Rabbitohs have struggled to score points by comparison, with just over 400 to their name while also leaking 558 points in their 20 matches so far this year.

The second-placed Cowboys have the opportunity to leap-frog the Panthers this week should the men from the foot of the mountains go down to the New Zealand Warriors, meaning the North Queenslanders could be in Minor Premiership territory with just one month of regular season football remaining.

For the Rabbitohs, victory could see them jump up as high 14th spot with favourable results – namely losses to the St George Illawarra Dragons and Gold Coast Titans.