We look at four burning questions facing the Rabbitohs ahead of this Sunday’s Round 3 NRL clash against traditional rivals, the St George Illawarra Dragons at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The beginning of a beautiful friendship?
After one trial game together against the Titans, the Luke Keary/Cody Walker halves partnership got off to a flying Premiership start in Round 2 against the Newcastle Knights, with both playmakers looking dangerous as they skilfully and confidently guided the team around the park. The pair is likely to be handed the reins again for this Sunday’s clash against the Dragons, and should they continue to improve, will give Michael Maguire plenty to think about when regular halfback Adam Reynolds eventually returns from injury.
What will the interchange look like?
The make-up of Michael Maguire’s bench has been a point of interest during the first two rounds, with the Head Coach retaining Damien Cook and Jason Clark in the 14 and 15 jerseys, while rotating his last two available spots – partly out of necessity/injury. Centre, Kirisome Auva’a, was an interesting late inclusion to Maguire’s final bench spot against the Knights – a spot usually reserved for back-rowers or props. But while the man known as ‘Somi’ is most comfortable in the outside backs, Maguire used the 100kg battering ram as a back-rower for 26 minutes. Is this the beginning of a positional change for Auva’a? It’s certainly been done before with the likes of Dave Tyrrell having made the unlikely – and even more drastic – switch from wing to prop.
Half and half for dummy halves?
Is there room for only one dummy half? Not if you’re the Rabbitohs. With two capable hookers in the team – both with differing styles and the ability to offer plenty of points of difference to the Rabbitohs attack – Coach Maguire has split the difference in the first two rounds and given Cameron McInnes and Damien Cook virtually one half each to ply their trade to full effect. In Round 2 against the Knights, McInnes started the game at number nine and played 44 minutes, while Cook played 46. Will this rotation continue, or will one player eventually take the reins?
How will the Dragons Respond?
St George Illawarra will be out to prove themselves this Sunday at the SCG, having started the season with two losses from two games – their most recent a 30-2 loss to local rivals the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in Sunday afternoon football. But don’t let the score-line fool you. The Dragons showed plenty of promising signs in both games, particularly against the Melbourne Storm in Round 1 at AAMI Park – the side narrowly going down to the much-fancied Storm by 18-16. Expect the Red V to be fully prepared and breathing fire at Moore Park, the sight of so many memorable clashes between the Rabbitohs and Dragons.
Stay tuned to Rabbitohs.com.au today (Tuesday) for the announcement of the Club’s Round 3 team to take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at the SCG this Sunday. Kick-off is at 4pm. Click here to purchase your tickets!