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2020 NRL Round Two Preview, Broncos Vs Rabbitohs

Todd Warren previews the Broncos vs Rabbitohs from an empty Suncorp Stadium due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

FORM LINE

Brisbane Broncos

Brisbane are coming off a very good win over North Queensland in round one, with a 28-21 upset in the opening of Queensland Country Bank stadium in Townsville. I admittedly had low expectations of the Broncos this season however they looked very crisp with a new looking 17 lead by Brodie Croft as their new halfback.

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South Sydney Rabbitohs

Likewise the Rabbitohs are coming off a good win in round one when they beat the Sharks 22-18 with a 14 point lead at the 60 minute mark allowing them to rest their marquee signing Latrell Mitchell. The Sharks made a late charge but it was too little too late.

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SQUAD NEWS

Brisbane Broncos

Tevita Pangai Junior has taken the early plea for his hit on Justin O’Neill in the opening two minutes of round one. He’ll be out for four games in what must be frustrating for Broncos fans considering that was his first game back after a five week suspension for a crusher tackle on James Maloney. Ethan Bullemor makes his debut off the bench, and according to the Broncos he is faster than Payne Haas and David Fifita, which is worrying for the rest of the competition considering the gun forwards that the Broncos have produced in the past few seasons.

  1. Jamayne Isaako
  2. Corey Oates
  3. Kotoni Staggs
  4. Darius Boyd
  5. Jesse Arthars
  6. Anthony Milford
  7. Brodie Croft (c)
  8. Thomas Flegler
  9. Jake Turpin
  10. Payne Haas
  11. David Fifita
  12. Jamil Hopoate
  13. Patrick Carrigan (c)
  14. Herbie Farnworth
  15. Andrew McCullough
  16. Rhys Kennedy
  17. Ethan Bullemore

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Souths are 1-17. They have persisted with Liam Knight at lock after a solid game against the Sharks. Ethan Lowe provided some good spark off the bench when Knight came off for a spell and Cameron Murray moved back into the middle of the field. There was some question marks over the fitness of Latrell Mitchell after his first game at fullback. He came off after 55 minutes and certainly wasn’t great, but it was just after he went off and the Souths backline got reshuffled that the Sharks staged their comeback and almost got the win.

  1. Latrell Mitchell
  2. Dane Gagai
  3. James Roberts
  4. Braidon Burns
  5. Campbell Graham
  6. Cody Walker
  7. Adam Reynolds (c)
  8. Tevita Tatola
  9. Damien Cook
  10. Thomas Burgess
  11. Jayden Su’A
  12. Cameron Murray
  13. Liam Knight
  14. Mark Nicholls
  15. Ethan Lowe
  16. Hame Sele
  17. Alex Johnston

KEY STAT

Brisbane will be looking for redemption after losing both matchups last season including the game at Suncorp. As current times are unprecedented we don’t know how much the home field advantage will matter when there’s literally no crowd there to cheer. Suncorp Stadium is probably the best stadium in the world to watch NRL and the crowd plays a big part in that.

BATTLE TO WATCH

Now I usually pick a direct player matchup when I write these things, but these teams are both stacked in different ways this year so to me the game will be won either by the Broncos forward pack or the Rabbitohs backline. We’ve seen the damage Brisbane forwards can do with Payne Haas finishing third in 2019 Dally M voting despite missing the first few games of the season and the emergence of David Fifita. Both those guys made their Origin debuts in 2019 and both started the season in big ways with Haas playing almost 80 minutes at prop and Fifita scoring an incredible solo effort 70m try which left Valentine Holmes laying in the dirt wondering what just happened.

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Souths have been known to dominate through the middle for a few years now but they are missing a few big guns in Sam Burgess and George Burgess. They still have Thomas Burgess and Cameron Murray but their backline is where they really shine. The jury is still out on Latrell playing at fullback but he’s a proven gun so it may just be a matter of him finding his fitness. Dane Gagai and James Roberts are both Origin players and makes up a lethal right edge while Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds are both rep players as well, with Reynolds having one of the best short kicking games in the competition and Walker always a threat to bust the line open.

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PREDICTION

The lack of crowd could make no difference or it could make a huge difference, we just don’t know. Under normal circumstances my money would be on Souths in a tight one but I think it will be a bit more convincing for three in a row wins with Bennett over Seibold. Souths by 12.

GAME DETAILS

Date: Friday March 20
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-off: 7:05pm

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