Andrew Pelechaty previews the opening game of round 19, with Souths playing Canterbury-Bankstown. This is what we have to look forward to.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Souths (11-7) rebounded from their Melbourne loss with a 26-24 win over the Wests Tigers. They were cruising with a 20-0 lead after 25 minutes (tries to Dane Gagai, Corey Allan, and Campbell Graham) before the Tigers cut the margin to 20-12 at halftime. Graham’s second try gave Souths some breathing space, but they endured a nervous final 14 minutes as the Tigers got within two points. The win briefly took Souths to fifth, before Canberra’s big win over St George Illawarra pushed them back to sixth.
Canterbury (2-16) had a chance to offload the wooden spoon to Brisbane when they played Manly Warringah last Friday night, but again they failed to capitalise on a bright start. They led 10-0 after 26 minutes, with a try to Matt Doorey and three goals to Nick Meaney, but Manly scored four tries in 15 minutes to lead 22-10 early in the second half. Lachlan Lewis scored in the 50th minute to cut the margin to six, before two more Manly tries sealed their win. Jayden Okunbor scored Canterbury’s third try with seven minutes left, but it was too late.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Steven Marsters 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Liam Knight 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Jed Cartwright 16. Hame Sele 17. Keaon Koloamatangi 18. Tevita Tatola 19. Patrick Mago 20. Troy Dargan 21. Cory Denniss.
1. Will Hopoate 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Reimis Smith 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Jake Averillo 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Luke Thompson 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Chris Smith 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Sione Katoa 17. Sauaso Sue 19. Dean Britt 20. Tuipulotu Katoa 21. Nick Meaney 23. James Roumanos.
This game has become the traditional Good Friday afternoon fixture, with Canterbury leading the head-to-head 22-16 (and one draw) since 1998. Souths easily won their round eight clash this year, by 26-10, while their two games in 2019 both had 14-6 scorelines: Canterbury winning in round 22 (during their late-season form surge); and Souths winning on Good Friday.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Adam Reynolds vs Lachlan Lewis
Reynolds has been a crucial part of Souths’ run to the finals, guiding them to six wins from their last seven games. In that run, he’s scored three tries and kicked 34 goals.
if Souths are to go deep into October, they’ll be relying on Reynolds to be at his best, so expect him be busy against the struggling Bulldogs.
While it’s been a rough year for Canterbury, Lewis has tried to spark something, playing the last seven games and playing the full 80 in five of them. Overall, he’s scored three tries in 12 games, with seven try assists, three line break assists, and an 81.7% tackle efficiency.
Souths need to win this game if they want to host an elimination final, as they finish their regular season against the powerful Sydney Roosters. Souths should have belted an inconsistent Wests Tigers last week, so expect them to keep the foot on Canterbury’s throat if they get out to an early lead.
Souths by 30.
Date: Thursday, September 17.
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney.