PREVIEW: Rd 17, 2016
Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Sunday 3 July
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will venture north to Cairns to take on the North Queensland Cowboys at Barlow Park in Round 17 of the Telstra Premiership on Sunday.
The significance of the clash will be heightened with Rabbitohs veteran, John Sutton, featuring in his 250th top-grade game in the Cardinal Red and Myrtle Green – a previously unachieved feat in the history of the Club.
Having debuted for the Rabbitohs in Round 17, 2004 against the Brisbane Broncos, the Souths junior surpassed Bob McCarthy’s previous Club record of 211 games in Round 5, 2014.
South Sydney will be looking to re-join the winner's circle to honour the achievements of Sutton and re-route their season after a tough 28-26 loss at the hands of the Penrith Panthers.
After being on the other side of a tight result, the Cowboys will be looking to continue their charge toward the top of the table, backing up from their victory against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on Monday night.
Despite travelling deep within enemy territory, the fixture against the Cowboys is a Rabbitohs home game, with a strong cohort of South Sydney faithful expected to turn out in force to provide a homely feel – a prospect that excites Head Coach Michael Maguire.
“Obviously (we’re) looking forward to getting up to Cairns and seeing all of our great fans. We’ve got a fair following up there,” said Maguire.
“I’m expecting it’s going to be a full house. I’m really looking forward to it.
“Obviously it is a bit of a home town for the North Queensland guys, but I know that there’s a lot of Rabbitohs supporters up there, so it will be good to look out and see who’s got the most jumpers in the crowd.”
The clash between the two teams will serve as their second meeting in 2016, with the Cowboys securing a 44-18 victory in the initial encounter in Round 7 at 1300SMILES Stadium.
With the first match littered with handling errors and defensive lapses from the Red and Green’s, Michael Maguire’s side will be looking to improve upon the fundamental aspects of the game leading into the re-match, as the Souths mentor mentions.
“It’s the long periods that you’ve got to play for in the NRL, it’s what the game demands at this level, and if we continually work at those areas, obviously things turn around,” said Maguire.
“The boys are really working hard to understand those little areas of the game, which have been a big part of what we’ve been talking about for a while.”
The trip to Cairns also marks the return of halfback, Adam Reynolds, who re-joins the side after a week’s absence due to a shoulder injury sustained whilst representing New South Wales in Game II of State of Origin.
Spotlight: Adam Reynolds
After missing the Rabbitohs Round 16 match against the Panthers, Adam Reynolds will be looking to steer his side around the park and claim two premiership points for the Red and Greens.
As has been the case in the past two State of Origin fixtures, Reynolds will square off against Jonathan Thurston, in what shapes up to be an enthralling contest between the two representative halves.
With both individuals thriving on the challenge of playing on Rugby League's biggest stage, all eyes will be on the playmakers to see whether they can transfer a similar type of intensity back into their Club performances.
Reynolds will be looking to back up his solid outing for the Blues in Game II which saw the halfback set-up one try and make 22 tackles in defence in 67 minutes on the field.
Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Saturday 2 July
The South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC (Under 20’s) side returns to Redfern Oval against the North Queensland Cowboys in Round 17 of the Holden Cup.
David Penna’s young Rabbitohs fought valiantly against the table-topping Penrith Panthers in Round 16, going down 32-8 at Pepper Stadium.
The North Queensland Cowboys – who currently sit in 2nd position on the ladder – secured a convincing 40-10 victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, continuing their record of no losses since Round 8.
Faced with a significant challenge, the Rabbitohs will need to replicate their previous performance against North Queensland, which saw the Red and Greens claim a 34-18 victory in Round 7.
Look out for hooker, Maia Sands, who has been a consistent week to week performer for the Rabbitohs. Occupying the rake position in all games this season, Sands has provided his side with solidarity in defence, averaging 38 tackles per game, as well as spark in attack scoring 5 tries from dummy half.