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MATCH PREVIEW | Brisbane Broncos vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

Todd Warren previews the Broncos vs the Rabbitohs as both teams fight for position heading into finals.

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Broncos

The Broncos have had a strange season. They started very poorly winning one of their first six. Their longest winning streak was back in May when they won three in a row before a tough stretch where they lost to the Titans, Eels and Knights. Despite all that they are still in the top eight and of their last seven games they have won five and drawn one, with a 40-4 thumping by the Storm thrown in as well. They’re sitting in seventh right now but a loss against Souths will see them drop out of the top eight if the Panthers or the Sharks can get a win.

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Rabbitohs

Souths are definitely struggling right now. They started the season extremely well winning ten of their first 11 and looked destined for a top four spot but injuries and poor form have seen them drop to fifth on the ladder and behind Manly on points differential. They were very disappointing last week and were beaten 14-6 by the Bulldogs. They’re on a three game losing streak and have only won three games from their last ten. A win here will push them back into the top four if Manly can’t beat the Raiders.

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SQUAD NEWS

Broncos

Jake Turpin is spending two weeks on the sidelines after being sin binned and suspended for a swinging arm on Dylan Edwards last week. He will be joined in the stands by Tevita Pangai Junior, who is suspended once again after a crusher tackle on James Maloney in the dying moments of last weeks game against the Panthers. TPJ was unsuccessful at the judiciary in getting his charge downgraded so he will miss five games, which will likely see him miss the rest of the season. Sean O’Sullivan replaces Turpin in the halves while Matt Gillett has been named to return from his back injury and Alex Glenn also returns to start in the centres which pushes Gehamat Shibasaki to the bench.

Broncos team list:

1. Anthony Milford
5. Jamayne Isaako
3. Kotoni Staggs
4. Alex Glenn
2. Corey Oates
6. Darius Boyd (c)
7. Sean O’Sullivan
8. Matt Lodge
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Payne Haas
11. David Fifita
12. Matt Gillet
13. Joe Ofahengauae
14. James Segeyaro
15. Thomas Flegler
16. Gehamat Shibasaki
17. Pat Carrigan

Rabbitohs

Sam Burgess was named in the starting squad however he is doubtful to play after a niggling quad strain. There are some reports he could even be rested until finals. Tom Burgess is also out with a medial injury and also likely to miss the rest of the regular season. Braidon Burns is out long term and may miss the rest of the season while Adam Reynolds will play despite a niggling back injury and Damien Cook will play through a calf injury. Kyle Turner will start at centre with Liam Knight at prop.

Rabbitohs team list:

1. Adam Doueihi
2. Dane Gagai
3. James Roberts
4. Alex Glenn
5. Campbell Graham
6. Cody Walker
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Sam Burgess (c)
9. Damien Cook
10. Liam Knight
11. John Sutton
12. Jayden Su’A
13. Cameron Murray
14. Mark Nicholls
15. Ethan Lowe
16. Dean Britt
17. Tevita Tatola

HEAD TO HEAD

Brisbane have been dominant in this fixture and have won seven of the last ten games. Souths got a big 38-6 win in Round Eight down in Sydney but the Broncos won the two games last year. So that’s three in a row that Wayne Bennett has over Anthony Seibold. No doubt he will be itching to make it four.

KEY BATTLE

Tough to pick out two players that are lining up against each other but the 5/8th battle is important here for a number of reasons. I’m struggling to think of anything positive to write about Darius Boyd as he has been a shadow of his former self all season long. His defence at fullback early in the season was just awful and while you can’t blame that for the Broncos early season struggle, it definitely played a role. His much publicised move to 5/8th saw Anthony Milford go back to the position he started his career, and while Boyd has shown some improvement it’s still leaving a lot to be desired. Anthony Seibold has defended Boyd but it’s still up to Darius to prove the doubters wrong and make the Brisbane fans feel better about the fact he’s contracted until the end of 2021.

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Cody Walker started the season as one of the best 5/8ths in the NRL. He was leading the top try scoring tally for a while there with 11 tries and eight try assists in his first ten games however since Round Ten he’s only crossed the line twice with five assists. His early season form was good enough to earn him his debut Blues jersey however it was a very forgettable performance and he was replaced by James Maloney for the rest of the series. Can’t help but wonder if that Origin performance directly hurt his confidence but that was the same time that his tries and try assists dried up.

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THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Friday 23rd August
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-off: 7:55pm
Referee: Ben Cummins, Henry Perenara

WHO WILL WIN?

Souths have been in poor form, are missing players and starting players with injuries. Having said that I fully expect Wayne Bennett to get his team fired up for this game and not many people know the Brisbane players better than Bennett. Souths by 12.

 

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