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PREVIEW: South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Wests Tigers

On Thursday night two teams will be desperate to post competition points after a disappointing start to 2016.  Will it be the Wests Tigers ending their six game losing streak or the Rabbitohs who have lost their last three?

LAST TIME OUT

South Sydney traveled to Suncorp last Friday night to take on home side and league leaders Brisbane Broncos.  It was an unhappy night for the 2014 Premiers in going down 30-8.  After a tight first half hour where only a penalty goal separated both sides, Brisbane scored five tries to one in running away with the game.  Greg Inglis the first player to crack the Broncos line in three weeks with a try that brought his side back into the game.  Sam Burgess tried to lift his side but went a little over the top with some rough play.  Adam Reynolds and Paul Carter were placed on report.  The latter to miss this week’s match.

As for the Wests Tigers, there was an expectation after going so close against the Storm at historic Leichhardt Oval that they would give the Raiders a good run for their money.  Sadly that wasn’t the case with the Raiders putting 60 points on the poor Tigers.  Jordan Rapana scoring four in the eleven try to one rout.  Tigers fans taking to social media after the game disgusted with their effort.  There’s a lot of pressure now on Jason Taylor to produce results soon, or he will be shown the door despite assurances from the Tigers CEO of his future.  Other fans are turning on Robbie Farah as before his return the Tigers were in a ‘happy place’, now it’s just the ‘same old’ ugly Tigers.

KEY BATTLES

Greg Inglis and James Tedesco might just be facing off at fullback in State of Origin game 1 on June 1.  Inglis continues to struggle to reach career high form however new Australian coach Mal Meninga has put faith in him to represent his country in the upcoming ANZAC Test.  James Tedesco is being touted as the best option at fullback for the Blues but it might end up heading the way of Josh Dugan after he was selected in the Kangaroos squad.  That should be a good match up.

We’ll also take a look at the number nines, Robbie Farah and Damien Cook.  Both for differing reasons.  Farah has been an established hooker for so long with the Tigers and with the outrage from some fans on social media this week there’s a feeling he is holding back the side.  Is it time to give Manaia Cherrington the number nine jumper for good?  The worse thing that could happen is an unhappy Cherrington leaves the club because he’s not getting game time.  Could the Tigers end up in the same situation as Te Maire Martin who was offloaded to the Panthers?

On the other side of the ledger is Damien Cook, starting for the first time this season.  He has Cameron McInnes looking to be the preferred hooker at the Rabbitohs.  The former Bulldog has enthusiasm and a bit of fight in him.  This game could go a way to establishing him as the best hooker at the proud club.

PREDICTION

There will be an expectation that the Tigers will bounce back but South Sydney might have other plans.  With the finishing of Bryson Goodwin and Aaron Gray in the back line and a fit Adam Reynolds at half, the Rabbitohs will seize the day and end up in the winners circle.

Rabbitohs by 16.

SQUADS

Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis, 2 Dane Nielsen, 3 Kirisome Auva’a, 4 Bryson Goodwin, 5 Aaron Gray, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 David Tyrrell, 11 Christopher Grevsmuhl, 12 Kyle Turner, 13 Samuel Burgess. Interchange: 14 Cameron McInnes, 15 Jason Clark, 16 Nathan Brown, 17 George Burgess.

Tigers: 1 James Tedesco, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Tim Simona, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Jordan Rankin, 6 Mitchell Moses, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Avagalu Seumanufagai, 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Tim Grant, 11 Curtis Sironen, 12 Christopher Lawrence, 13 Sauaso Jesse Sue. Interchange: 14 Joshua Aloiai, 15 Dene Halatau, 16 Kyle Lovett, 17 JJ Felise

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