The South Sydney Rabbitohs will host the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Friday night as part of the ANZAC round. Both sides have had interesting starts to the season, and the Broncos will be looking to further cement themselves into the top eight, whilst the Rabbitohs will be looking towards a top eight spot.

Last Time Out

The Brisbane Broncos had a close call on Good Friday when they narrowly defeated Queensland rivals, the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium. The Titans came out firing, startling the Broncos. The contest began at the 32 minute mark when the scores were almost level, the Broncos just short. Titans’ Chris Grevsmuhl further separated the sides when he scored a try five minutes before half time. The Broncos hit back and scored the opening try of the second half, and then again in the 62nd minute mark. Kane Elgey crossed the chalk with just ten minutes to go and the Titans led by four. In one of the most fortuitous moments of the season so far, the Broncos’ James Roberts broke free from the Titans defence in the 79th minute, scoring the match winning try for his Broncos side in front of a home crowd, breaking the hearts of the opposition and their fans. It was awarded the match of the round title, and deservedly so, given the incredible nature of the game. The Brisbane Broncos got away with the win very narrowly, only winning by two points, 24-22.

The Rabbitohs however, were not so lucky in their Good Friday encounter with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs when they lost 24-9. The team lacked a lot in both defence and attack. The scores were level, and they were ahead at some points during the match, however it didn’t take long for the Hasler’s Bulldogs to bounce back and eventually run away with it. When the Bulldogs began their comeback that got them the win, they slipped in both defence and attack, not making any attempt too retaliate and possibly build pressure and get the edge over their opposition. The Rabbitohs were not terrible, and their match stats prove this, showing that the Bulldogs made more errors, although the South Sydney side did have a lower completion rate. They do however still have work to do before they tackle the Broncos on Friday night, hoping to climb closer to a top eight position on the NRL ladder for the 2017 season, a position that will help them get to the finals in September.

Key Battle

The spine of both the Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs will have a significant impact on the outcome of the match, in particular the five-eighths Cody Walker (Rabbitohs) and Milford (Broncos). Both of these players have had great starts to the season, and can be crucial to the performance of their sides. Both fullbacks have done well so far, and similar with he hookers and halfbacks. The performance of both spines will be interesting and could make or break the side and be instrumental to the result of the match on Friday night.

Prediction

Both teams have a lot to step up to, and can prove themselves worthy of top eight positions if they play right, and build pressure on their opposition. The Broncos are now without Ben Hunt, who suffered a hamstring injury in round six. However, they managed to just get away with a win without him, however with the force of Reynolds, this could put pressure on the Broncos. The Rabbitohs do still have a few things to work on, and the Broncos could capitalise off the back of this, and do some damage. Broncos by 8+.

Squads

South Sydney Rabbitohs

1. Alex Johnston 2. Braidon Burns 3. Siosifa Talakai 4. Robert Jennings 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Kyle Turner 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Robbie Farah 15. Jason Clark 16. Zane Musgrove 17. George Burgess 18. Robbie Rochow 19. Cameron Murray 20. Tyrell Fuimaono

21. Hymel Hunt

Brisbane Broncos

1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Korbin Sims 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire 14. Alex Glenn 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. David Mead 18. Todd Murphy 19. George Fai 20. Jamayne Isaako 21. Jonus Pearson