The NRL continues on Saturday night when the Warriors and Rabbitohs battle it out for their first win of the season in Perth.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
We will be seeing a very familiar team in the Rabbitohs on Saturday night. They will be ready to come back from an injury-ridden 2017 season where they still managed to finish strong despite the continual setbacks. Souths know the Warriors are on the back foot for round one so they will be sure to take full advantage of this opportunity.
The Warriors had an extremely unsuccessful 2017 campaign which means they need to come out firing in round one if they want to gain back respect from fans and fellow teams. The club will be looking for its first-ever win in Western Australia as they have been unsuccessful in their previous nine visits. There are a few new names for the clash in Perth so it will be interesting to see if they can turn things around for the wooden-spooner candidate.
Mark Nicholls is named at prop, beating George Burgess to the spot. The former Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm front-rower was impressive in the Charity Shield. Tevita Tatola will make his NRL debut from the bench beating out experienced campaigner Jason Clark. Robbie Farah has been named on an extended bench, with Damien Cook preferred at hooker.
The Warriors will be presenting a refreshed side on Saturday night by debuting seven new players. They are Peta Hiku, Blake Green, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Sam Cook, Leivaha Pulu and Anthony Gelling. Due to the season-ending hamstring injury of Nathaniel Roache, Sam Cook will be making his NRL debut. Ligi Sao is replacing veteran back rower Simon Mannering who has suffered a shoulder injury and will possibly be out for a few weeks.
The last time these two teams faced off was last season, round 24 where the Rabbitohs defeated the Warriors 36-18. The Warriors got off to a flying start in the opening minutes of the match but back to back penalties hurt the team as they handed the Bunnies more possession than they could cope with. The game was close right up until the last quarter where the Rabbitohs were able to run away with it. The Warriors completed 82% of their sets but the inability to turn possession into points was ultimately their downfall.
The Rabbitohs are welcoming back Greg Inglis after his knee reconstruction last season which should add a spark back into their play. For the Warriors to beat the talented Rabbitohs side they need to focus hard on their attack as they lost their last game to the South’s due to their inability to put points on the board. For the Rabbitohs to take the two points they will need to win the battle in the centres – and with the Burgess brothers on their side in the forwards they have the advantage of experience and size.
This will be a hard-fought battle for the Warriors but if they can win, it will cement a positive start to their season campaign. The Rabbitohs are looking strong and will also be looking for a positive start to the season but more importantly they will be wanting to come out injury free.
The Warriors have lost their last five games against the Rabbitohs since 2013.
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Greg Inglis (c), 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Mark Nicholls, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess. Interchange: 14 Cameron Murray, 15 Tyrell Fuimaono, 16 George Burgess, 17 Tevita Tatola. Reserves: 18 Robbie Farah, 19 Jason Clark, 20 Hymel Hunt, 21 Adam Doueihi
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitua, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Ligi Sao. Interchange: 14 Sam Cook, 15 Leivaha Pulu, 16 Sam Lisone, 17 Bunty Afoa. Reserves: 18 Jazz Tevaga, 20 Mason Lino, 21 Agnatius Paasi, 22 Anthony Gelling
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 10th March
Venue: Perth Stadium
WHO WILL WIN?