NewsNow

PREVIEW | New Zealand Warriors vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

Round 12 will see the Warriors and Rabbitohs go head to head at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night. Both teams are sitting next to one another on the ladder at 3rd and 4th position so this should be a game that leaves fans sitting on the edge of their seats.

TEAM FORM GUIDE

WARRIORS

The Warriors came up against Parramatta Eels in round 11 which most believed it would be an easy win for the Kiwi side as they were sitting comfortably at 3rd while the Eels were sitting at 16th on the ladder. The odds changed as it was revealed Johnson and Tuivasa-Sheck would be sitting out for the match.

It didn’t look good for the Warriors in the opening minutes of the game as Parramatta gained three penalties within the first few minutes which meant the Warriors couldn’t seem to get their hands on the ball. It didn’t take long for the team to get some points on the board as soon as they gained possession with a trademark dive from Fusitu’a and a penalty goal soon after. The Warriors were beating the Eels in every aspect as their defence and attack was strong throughout the full 80. Even with their young star Isaiah Papali’i being sent to the bin, the Warriors maintained their cool and sealed the win with Issac Luke steamrolling over the line for a 24-14 win.

RABBITOHS

Round 11 between the Rabbitohs and Cowboys came down to the wire as they secured the win with a penalty goal in the 80th minute. The bunnies started strong and had the Cowboys chasing their tails throughout the entire game. The Cowboys began to catch up after Cody Walker was sent to the sidelines for 10 minutes.

Even though the team lost both Alex Johnson and Sam Burgess to a hamstring injury early on in the game, they managed to keep the pressure on and take full advantage of the penalties given. The Rabbitohs dominated in their attack as they made 9 offloads and 5 line breaks throughout. Although Souths was able to spot the Cowboys weaknesses and expose them, they still have a lot to work on as they made 13 errors which could have easily cost them the game.

SQUAD NEWS

WARRIORS

Fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is set to return this week but may not make an appearance if the birth of his child collides with the game. Peta Hiku has been named as halfback replacing Mason Lino who has been ruled out with a leg injury. The late change sees Gerard Beale moving from the extended bench to start in the centres. Simon Mannering will be starting for round 12 which means youngster Isaiah Papali’i has been moved to the interchange bench.

RABBITOHS

As Alex Johnson is out with a hamstring injury, he will be replaced at fullback by skipper Greg Inglis. Adam Doueihi is in centre and Mark Nicholls is back on the interchange bench.

KEY BATTLE

Embed from Getty Images

Both teams have exceeded expectations this season as the Warriors have won 8 out of 11 games even with the absence of key players while the Rabbitohs have been playing like a top-four side for the majority of the season. One of the most exciting match-ups for this clash will be between Damien Cook who will be making a last-ditch effort to secure his NSW jersey and the revitalised Issac Luke who was a fiery competitor in round 11 who thrives off having the last laugh.

The Warriors attack has been a force to be reckoned with this season as they lead the NRL in offloads (165). If the Rabbitohs let their defence slip it could be the deciding factor of the game – especially if Johnson and Tuivasa-Sheck make a re-appearance.

The Rabbitohs are second in the NRL in points scored which proves they are no muggs. They are a team who love to move the ball around and use brute force to make room for their game makers to spin their magic. Both teams are known for their unorthodox style of attack, but ultimately it’ll be defence that will win the game. The Warriors have already defeated the Bunnies 20-32 so they will be out for revenge.

KEY STAT

Out of 32 games between the two sides, the Warriors have won a total of 19 while the Rabbitohs have won 13.

SQUADS

WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
18 GERARD BEALE
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
3 PETA HIKU
6 BLAKE GREEN
8 JAMES GAVET
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 AGNATIUS PAASI
11 SIMON MANNERING
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 ADAM BLAIR
Interchange:
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 CHRIS SATAE
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
20 KARL LAWTON
22 ANTHONY GELLING

RABBITOHS

1. Greg Inglis (c)
2. Campbell Graham
3. Adam Doueihi
4. Dane Gagai
5. Hymel Hunt
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. Cameron Murray
15. Mark Nicholls
16. Jason Clark
17. Tevita Tatola

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

7.30pm, Saturday, May 26, 2018
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Referees: Grant Atkins and Phil Henderson

WHO WILL WIN?

This game could easily go either way. Both teams have a similar style and love to play rugby league’s oldest game plan – running it hard up the middle and leaving room for the magic in the backs. Defence will ultimately be the deciding factor in round 12 but with the Warriors playing at home and keeping in mind the Rabbitohs long road trip to townsville last week leaving them with little recovery time – my money is on the Warriors to take the win.

Warriors by 12

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: