With no shortage of Red and Green taking part in Representative Round, we take a look at four burning questions facing our reps.
1. Who will take to the Rep scene best?
A total of six Rabbitohs players will take part in the Rep Round, in the form of; Greg Inglis (Australia), Kirisome Auva’a (Samoa), Michael Oldfield (Tonga), Aaron Gray, Nathan Brown (City), and Siosifa Talakai (Junior Kiwis). In addition, North Sydney Bears players, Sitiveni Moceidreke and Samisoni Langi have also been selected for Fiji and Tonga respectively. With opportunities aplenty for those selected, as well as national and city pride well and truly on the line, expect all Rabbitohs to put their best foot forward. Skipper, Inglis, takes the cake for sheer weight of experience with 34 Tests behind him, while for the remaining Rabbitohs, the representative arena lays all before them. The question is who will make the very most of the opportunity?
2. How will positional shifts affect the Kangaroos?
In what will be Mal Meninga’s first game at the helm of the Australian team, the new mentor has made a number of selections that see players being picked out of their regular position – among them, Inglis. While the Rabbitohs skipper is no stranger to the centres, or five eighth for that matter, the custodian will now look to form a quick combination with another fullback in the form of Josh Dugan.
“I’ve played it (centre) long enough and I do know my role” said Inglis today (Monday).
“The best thing about it is the great communicators around me. JT (Johnathan Thurston) is inside me and he gives really good, clear instructions and directions. We’ve played together for so many years and slotting back there – I won’t be a stranger to it.”
3. What will our City slickers get out of the experience?
For Aaron Gray and Nathan Brown, their introduction to the top-flight representative scene will come on Sunday in Tamworth when their City outfit takes on Country. Traditionally a NSW State of Origin selection trial, the Rabbitohs duo have shown plenty of grit in their performances so far in 2016 and will be looking to make an impression when they start for City – Gray at centre, with Brown at lock. Both will no doubt soak up as much as they can from the experience of playing alongside different individuals from other clubs.
4. Mate against mate?
It’s the tag-line that has accompanied State of Origin since its inception (mate against mate), but the upcoming match between Tonga and Samoa has come to epitomise this sentiment in a big way. Now Kirisome Auva’a (Samoa), will take on his Rabbitohs teammate Michael Oldfield (Tonga), in what promises to be an explosive, pride-filled clash of the Pacific Titans. The Rabbitohs pair will play in the outside backs as they play for national pride in front of their enthusiastic countrymen and women.
2016 REPRESENTATIVE ROUND
May 6 - Australia v New Zealand, Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
May 6 – Harvey Norman Jillaroos v Kiwi Ferns, Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
May 7 – Pacific Double Header, Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
May 7 – Junior Kangaroos v Junior Kiwis, Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
May 8 – AAMI Country v City, Scully Park, Tamworth