Date: Monday 13th April
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick-Off: 7:00pm AEDT
Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis ©, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Daryl Millard, 4. Bryson Goodwin, 5. Joel Reddy, 6. John Sutton, 7. Luke Keary, 8. George Burgess, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Dave Tyrrell, 11. Glen Stewart, 12. Chris McQueen, 13. Jason Clark, 14. Ben Lowe, 15. Chris Grevsmuhl, 16. Tim Grant, 17. Thomas Burgess, 18. Cameron McInnes, 19. Nathan Brown.
Coach – Michael McGuire
Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Matthew Wright, 3. Tautau Moga, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston ©, 8. Matthew Scott ©, 9. Jake Granville, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo, 14. Rory Kostjaysn, 15. John Asiata, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. Ben Hannant, 18. Glenn Hall.
Coach – Paul Green
Preview: The Bunnies may have escaped with the controversial win after Good Friday’s theatrics, but it came at a daunting price, the loss of Adam Reynolds, not expected back until round 11-13. Already without one big name talent in Dylan Walker, while superstar Greg Inglis doesn’t look to be 100% with a knee issue (though still better than almost any player on the planet even in a reduced capacity), Souths are clearly operating below full strength right now. The timing of John Sutton’s return from injury was perfect for the Bunnies, named in the five-eighth role where he spent plenty of time for Souths in the past, while Luke Keary shifts into his preferred halfback spot, but Sutton will need time to shake off the rust, and this combo will need time to gel.
The Cowboys backed up their riveting golden point win over Melbourne with a convincing win over the Panthers in Penrith and are quickly vaporising the memories of their early season troubles. They come into this contest without any significant injury concerns, but they still enter this contest with issues of their own in the form of their woeful record in Sydney and at ANZ stadium. Going back to the year 2000, the Cowboys have won just six games in 19 contests at the venue, however, they have won their last two games at the ground, including beating the Rabbitohs which may have helped dispel the demons they had at the ground.
After the Cowboys dreadful start to the year, their confidence levels have rocketed after two straight wins. There’s perhaps been no more fearsome group of forwards in the competition right now than Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott and James Tamou who have been nothing short of monstrous over the past fortnight. Behind a dominant forward pack, there’s nobody you’d rather have pulling the strings than Thurston who has exploded over the last two rounds.
In a competition loaded with incredible talents, the question of who is the best player in the world often boils down to two people, Inglis or Thurston. It’s a treat anytime to watch either of these all-time greats, even better when they’re on the same paddock, duking it out against each other. This is two of the competitions premier sides, two of the competitions premier talents, there’s plenty of reason to make sure you tune in for this one.
Prediction: There’s a lot to like about the Cowboys right now and plenty of questions hovering over the Rabbitohs for this round. Cowboys to cover the +1.5 line.