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NRL Match Preview

Preview: New Zealand Warriors vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Warriors will aim to secure their spot in the Top 8 against a Rabbitohs team that will be eager to build upon their improved performance from last week and notch up their first victory since May.

Last Time Out

The Rabbitohs came agonizingly close to breaking their 8 game losing streak as they went down to the Melbourne Storm in golden point 15-14. The returns of Greg Inglis and Hymel Hunt made a huge difference to their backline and the promotion of Damien Cook to starting Hooker paid dividends as the Bunnies put in a spirited and determined effort but ultimately fell short of causing the biggest upset of the season.

The Warriors continued to build on the good form and consistency they’ve been showing in recent weeks by prevailing over the Titans 24-14 in an entertaining contest. Two long range intercepts by the Warriors leading to tries helped extend the margin in what was a very even match between the two teams. They now sit 8th on the ladder on equal points with the Panthers and Tigers with a -7 points differential.

Key Battle

The dummy half rotation of Jazz Tevaga and Nathaniel Roache against Damien Cook. The Warriors regular dummy half Issac Luke has a huge influence on the way his team plays but in his absence it’s up to his two deputies to continue to perform well. Roache had the best game of his career thus far against the Titans, making 29 tackles without a miss and a linebreak in a 40 minute stint on the field. Jazz’s service out of dummy half has been average with a few passes hitting the ground so that’ll be an area of his game that needs to be improved but his defence is solid and against a resurgent Bunnies pack he’ll need to have a strong defensive game in the middle.

Damien Cook’s first starting game as the sole Hooker for the Bunnies made a world of difference. His much faster and crisper service out of dummy half compared to Cameron McInnes kept the Bunnies momentum going as they got on the front foot and pressed for field position. His speed around the ruck meant he was able to take advantage of fast play the balls better and the Bunnies capitalized on this, keeping the pressure on Melbourne’s defence. While Cook was the player responsible for giving away a penalty in the last minute of the game against the Storm to force it into golden point, the Rabbitohs would never have been in the game the way they were if not for his efforts. His running game could wreak havoc on the Warriors side and they’ll have to limit his influence on the game to put a halt to their go forward.


The Warriors are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. They’ve been in some good form lately, have more to play for and have the home ground advantage but that can be all for nought depending on which side shows up on the day. The Rabbitohs will be hurting from last week’s narrow loss but they proved to themselves they can match it with the top teams when they get their attitude right. This should be a solid entertaining game and I daresay the Warriors will prevail in this one and go one step closer to making their first finals appearance since 2011. Warriors by 4+

New Zealand Warriors
1 Tuimoala Lolohea
2 Ken Maumalo
3 David Fusitua
4 Solomone Kata
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Thomas Leuluai
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Jazz Tevaga
10 Albert Vete
11 Bodene Thompson
12 Ryan Hoffman ©
13 Simon Mannering
14 Nathaniel Roache
15 Sam Lisone
16 Ben Matulino
17 Blake Ayshford
18 Bunty Afoa

South Sydney Rabbitohs
1 Greg Inglis ©
2 Alex Johnston
3 Hymel Hunt
4 Aaron Gray
5 Joe Burgess
6 Cody Walker
7 Adam Reynolds
8 Tom Burgess
9 Damien Cook
10 Zane Musgrove
11 John Sutton
12 Kyle Turner
13 Sam Burgess
14 Jason Clark
15 Jack Gosiewski
16 Angus Crichton
17 George Burgess

Roosters fan, a club proud to be developing local juniors and being compliant with the cap. League is the greatest game of all, Tennis pretty close behind.


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