After claiming top spot on the ladder last week, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be aiming to keep their win streak alive in round 11 when they take on the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs surged to the top of the ladder last week after a gritty 16-12 win over the Raiders in Canberra. It was a tough win for the form team of the competition, but they show no signs of slowing down heading into the Origin period. They have now won six games in a row and have only lost one game all year (13-12 loss to Manly in round 4).
The Tigers were extremely unlucky not to come away with a win last week against the Storm in Melbourne. They looked the better team for most of the game but ended up going down in the final minutes 24-22. They will gain a lot of confidence out of that performance and will be looking to go one step further and cause a big upset against the league leading Rabbitohs.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs remain unchanged from the side that beat the Raiders last week, with Ethan Lowe retaining his spot in the starting side at centre in place of Kyle Turner. The Rabbitohs will be shooting for their seventh consecutive win and are hoping to increase the gap at the top of the ladder to four points.
Rabbitohs squad: 1. Corey Allen 2. Mawene Hiroti 3. Ethan Lowe 4. Dane Gagai 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tom Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray Interchange 14. Tevita Tatola 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Dean Britt 17. Liam Knight Reserves 18. Jacob Gagan 19. Billy Brittain 20. Bayley Sironen 20. Dean Britt
The Tigers have reshuffled their backline slightly from the side that almost knocked off the Storm last week, with Paul Momirovski coming into the centres, Robert Jennings moving to the wing and Mahe Fonua dropping out of the side. Jacob Liddle comes onto the bench.
Tigers squad: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Robert Jennings 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Chris McQueen 13. Matthew Eisenhuth Interchange 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Michael Chee-Kam Reserves 18. David Nofoaluma 19. Elijah Taylor 20. Oliver Clark 21. Luke Garner
HEAD TO HEAD
These two teams have not played each other yet this season, with the last meeting between the two coming in the final round of the regular season last year, the Rabbitohs storming to an impressive 51-10 win on that occasion.
Head to head the Rabbitohs also hold the slight advantage, winning 17 of the 32 total games played against the Tigers.
With so many great matchups to choose from, the key battle in this one will be the 9’s, Damien Cook vs Robbie Farah. Two men who have a huge amount of influence on the direction of their sides. Both men have played hooker for NSW in State of Origin, and both played for the Rabbitohs at the same time a few years ago, with Cook eventually winning the starting spot. The experience and guile of Robbie Farah going up against the speed and agility of Damien Cook.
Farah has been a huge reason for the resurgence of the Tigers this year. He started the season in career best form scoring three tries in two games and wound the clock back to show the rest of the competition he still has the skills to be one of the more damaging dummy-halves in the game.
Speaking of damaging dummy-halves, you don’t get many better than Damien Cook. The current NSW hooker, he can tear any team to shreds with his speed out of dummy-half. If the Tigers are going to win or even challenge the Rabbits, they will need to find a way to slow down Cook and get the ball out of his hands quickly.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 25th of May
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referees: Gerard Sutton, Liam Kennedy
WHO WILL WIN?
After their performance last week against the Storm, the Tigers will have gained plenty of confidence despite losing the game and will fancy their chances of pulling off a big upset. The Rabbitohs have been the hot team for a while now but are getting closer to a loss. They looked to have been beaten by a plucky Raiders team last week only to just scrape home with a win. Michael Maguire will be coaching against his old team, so don’t be surprised to see the Tigers put in a big performance and possibly pull a rabbit out of their hat to win in a close one. Tigers by 2.