The Rabbitohs and the Tigers are opening their seasons on Friday night in a clash where the name Farah is almost a lock for the story of the night – the wobbles of Robbie’s tumultuous relationship with the Tigers coach Jason Taylor dominated media all through last year, finally being put to bed when Farah found home in the south of Sydney – but there has been a changing of the guard to young talent these past few seasons for the men in orange, finally fancied by some to even make the eight this year after a couple of years of development: this sets the fans up for a tantalising round one encounter.

LAST TIME OUT

The Tigers were valiant in defeat to the fancied Cowboys in their most recent trial, going down only from a Johnathan Thurston buzzer beater after a Kane Linnett try. The scandal that has the Concord men worried is the apparent permanent ban likely to be imposed on Tim Simona, a result of his gambling activities regarding rugby league – the catalyst for big offseason moves in the market.

The Rabbitohs were able to quickly adjust to life with Robbie Farah, who impressed in his limited opportunities during their trials. Farah’s performance in a trial loss to the Sea Eagles was commendable, though there were other off-season stories in the Burrow – most notably when the tensions between Luke Keary and gladiator Russell Crowe finally coming to head when Keary was jettisoned to the Roosters.

KEY BATTLE

James Tedesco is rising in value every second he’s on a football field, and earned an Origin call up in 2016 – Greg Inglis is waning in the eyes of many as a result of consistent issues with injury, most notably that famous bandaged knee. If Tedesco could continue this form it would please every Tigers fan, and with the consistency he’s exhibited, it’s likely that he does. Inglis on the other hand must find a way out of the rut that was 2016 – especially after a declaration that he is fit enough to resume fullback duties. The fortunes at the men at the top of the teamlist are imperative.

PREDICTION

The Rabbitohs have stars of yesterday in Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess, and though they are incredible players they haven’t reached the heights of 2013/14 since – on the other hand, James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses and the other Tigers young guns haven’t shown any signs of their improvement slowing down. The return of Jamal Idris to the NRL is sure to give the orange and black some firepower out wide to compensate for the loss of Tim Simona – and maybe even get them over the line on Friday

Tigers by 6

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SQUADS

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, 8.05pm (AEDT) Friday

Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis (c) 2 Alex Johnston 3 Hymel Hunt 4 Siosifa Talakai 5 Bryson Goodwin 6 Cody Walker 7 Luke Kelly 8 Zane Musgrove 9 Robbie Farah 10 David Tyrrell 11 John Sutton 12 Kyle Turner 13 Sam Burgess 14 Damien Cook 15 Jason Clark 16 Thomas Burgess 17 Robbie Rochow 18 Angus Crichton 19 Braiden Burns 20 George Burgess 21 Anthony Cherrington

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Kevin Naiqama 4. Jamal Idris 5. Jordan Rankin 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods (C) 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Sauaso Sue 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor 14. Tim Grant 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Joel Edwards 18. Jack Littlejohn 19. Justin Hunt 20. JJ Felise 21. Moses Suli