Round 15 kicks off with the last place Parramatta Eels hosting a top four South Sydney Rabbitohs side on Thursday night at ANZ Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Parramatta after only winning two games all season took their third against the Cowboys in the Northen Territory. A Jarryd Hayne inspired return saw him bag two tries and snap their losing streak to beat North Queensland 20-14.
The Bunnies were able to hold on to a win against a gallant Gold Coast Titans side. The Titans were able to fight back before halftime to make the score 10 all, but with 8 quick points for Souths in the opening minutes of the second half, they were able to finish in a tight controversial match 18-16.
Manu Ma’u returns to the starting side, Marata Niukore goes back to the bench. Reed Mahoney retains his spot in the 17. Mitchell Moses could return after being included on the extended bench.
Souths Origin players in Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai, Damien Cook and Angus Crichton return. Cameron Murray and Adam Doueihi move back to the bench with Robbie Farah, Hymel Hunt, Mark Nicholls, Tyrell Fuimaono dropping to the reserves.
The Rabbitohs coming off a shaky win against a lower ladder side and with Parramatta picking up just their 3rd win of the season, this clash is going to have many big moments. The consensus will be that Souths win comfortably but with face-off’s across the park this could come down to the wire with either side being successful and much of it coming down to the front forwards. Eels after a complete 80-minute performance in their round 14 match will no doubt spark many players in the side to go on with this form.
Recently back from injury lock forward Nathan Brown will be tasked with bringing down the Burgess Brothers through the middle of the park and show the aggression that inspires Parra to lift their intensity. Remarkably Brown has averaged 140 run metres with 95 % tackling efficiency through just his 7 appearances this season. He will certainly want to contribute highly to his sides go-forward while holding the defence intact if Eels are to win with many of their losses resulting from the oppositions forwards running over their pack.
South Sydney are one of the most consistent sides of 2018 and much of it has come down to the dominant return to their previous form of the Burgess Brothers in Sam, Thomas and George. The new coaching style of Anthony Seibold has unlocked the old bruising running of the Burgess boys and has the competition wondering how to stop all three once again. For starters, they are averaging 100 run metres but with each of those runs, the trio has managed 3-4 post contact metres for every hit-up. These players have been highly involved as this streak continues but with a win behind Parramatta and Nathan Brown back in-form the decision making in offloads and lines ran will be crucial, the three will need to bring a complete performance not only in attack but defend a desperate Eels forwards.
Michael Jennings set to play his 250th NRL game. Bunnies are aiming for seven straight wins for the first time since 1994.
Eels: 1 Bevan French, 2 Josh Hoffman, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 George Jennings, 6 Clint Gutherson (c), 7 Corey Norman, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Peni Terepo, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Brad Takairangi, 13 Nathan Brown Interchange: 14 Reed Mahoney, 15 Tim Mannah (c), 16 David Gower, 17 Marata Niukore
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis (c), 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Tevita Tatola
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 14th June
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick-off: 7:50 pm
Referee: Gerard Sutton
WHO WILL WIN?
These sides have a history of close encounters, South Sydney are now looking for that seventh straight victory and Parramatta looking for back-to-back wins while spoiling the streak. The expectation is that the roll on from the Souths forwards will be too much for Eels to contain, however a complete win last round and the return of Manu Ma’u will see Parra lift making this clash tight. The form of Rabbitohs through their entire squad while returning origin stars will hold too many options for them to win late but a shock to the side will be had with Parra taking the match down to the wire. Prediction: Rabbitohs by 6