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The Brisbane Broncos play host to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in this Friday Night Football blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:50pm (AEST).
Plenty to talk about going into this one. Apart from the obvious clash of coaches after Anthony Seibold and Wayne Bennett swapped clubs during the offseason, there is a South Sydney Rabbitohs side aiming to correct a disastrous form slump, while the Broncos will be desperate to win and avoid slipping out of the top eight.
Talk this week has centered around the Rabbitohs playing “tired”. Sam Burgess is clearly playing injured, while rumours are circulating that Damien Cook and Adam Reynolds are both carrying injuries as well.
They are already missing George Burgess through his 10-week suspension for eye-gouging Robbie Farah. Twin brother Tom will also miss this game due to a knee injury picked up in last week’s unexpected loss to the Bulldogs. That leaves an injured Sam Burgess and Liam Knight to take on this mighty Brisbane forward pack, led by the teenage behemoth Payne Haas.
The Broncos have been forced to make changes with the suspension of both Tevita Pangai Jr and Jake Turpin. The loss of Pangai is particularly devastating as he will not play again in 2019 unless the Broncos make it to the preliminary final. However, his loss has been offset by the return of Matt Gillett from a back injury, while Sean O’Sullivan comes into the side to replace Turpin at halfback.
It’ll be very interesting to see who comes away with the chocolates in this one.
On the one hand, South Sydney haven’t looked like winning for months – even when they beat the Dragons 3 weeks ago they had to score a freak try in the corner in the final minute of the game just to jag the narrow win against one of the worst-performing teams of 2019.
On the other hand, this is the sort of stuff that Wayne Bennett eats for breakfast. Backs against the wall, several key players either out or playing busted, and going up to Suncorp Stadium to face his old side the Broncos. If the old coach has a trick up his sleeve, you can bet he’s been saving it for this game.
Then there’s the Broncos, who themselves have been patchy at best this year, and very difficult for the punters to get a good read on. A bit part team, with Darius Boyd at five-eighth and Anthony Milford at fullback, displaying their best form of the season with a rookie hooker Jake Turpin steering the ship at halfback.
The Broncos will really miss Turpin. His tenacity and effort have been a big part of their recent turnaround in form, yet part of me thinks the Broncos could really benefit from having a genuine organising halfback like Sean O’Sullivan to lead them round the park.
This is a tough one to pick. I’m going to take a leap of faith and back the Rabbitohs to bounce back, but not with any confidence whatsoever.
Rabbitohs by 6.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:50pm (AEST).
Where: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
TV: Channel 9, Fox League
Streaming: NRL Digital Pass, 9 Now, Kayo Sports
Broncos: 1. Anthony Milford 5. Jamayne Isaako 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Alex Glenn 2. Corey Oates 6. Darius Boyd 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Matt Gillett 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. James Segeyaro 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Gehamat Shibasaki 17. Patty Carrigan 18. Rhys Kennedy 19. Izaia Perese 20. Shaun Fensom 21. Fanitesi Niu
Rabbitohs: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Kyle Turner 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Sam Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Liam Knight 11. John Sutton 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Dean Britt 17. Tevita Tatola 18. Tom Amone 19. Corey Allan 20. Bayley Sironen 21. Connor Tracey