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2021 NRL Round Five Preview, Rabbitohs Vs Broncos

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the fifth round clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Stadium Australia, Date: Thursday 8th April, Time: 7:50pm

Rabbitohs Team

  1. Latrell Mitchell
  2. Alex Johnston
  3. Dane Gagai
  4. Campbell Graham
  5. Josh Mansour
  6. Benji Marshall
  7. Adam Reynolds (c)
  8. Thomas Burgess
  9. Damien Cook
  10. Tevita Tatola
  11. Jacob Host
  12. Jaydn Su’A
  13. Cameron Murray
  14. Dean Hawkins
  15. Mark Nicholls
  16. Patrick Mago
  17. Jai Arrow
  18. Hame Sele
    21. Steven Marsters

Team Changes

IN: Dean Hawkins, Jacob Host
OUT: Cody Walker, Keaon Koloamatangi

Broncos Team

  1. Jamayne Isaako
  2. Xavier Coates
  3. Richard Kennar
  4. Tesi Niu
  5. David Mead
  6. Anthony Milford
  7. Tom Dearden
  8. Matthew Lodge
  9. Jake Turpin
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Alex Glenn (c)
  12. Jordan Riki
  13. Tevita Pangai Junior
  14. Brodie Croft
  15. Thomas Flegler
  16. John Asiata
  17. Ben Te’o
  18. Ethan Bullemor
  19. Rhys Kennedy

Team Changes

IN: John Asiata, Richard Kennar
OUT:
Herbie Farnworth, Patrick Carrigan

Referee: Ben Cummins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Rabbitohs

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After a 38-point drubbing over the winless Bulldogs, the Rabbitohs will be flying high as they take on the struggling Brisbane Broncos this Thursday night. South Sydney are currently on a three-game winning streak and have been in great form ever since their round one loss to the Melbourne Storm. Since then, they’ve knocked off the Sea Eagles and the Bulldogs, but their most impressive win was their 10-point victory over the Sydney Roosters in round three.

The Rabbitohs are starting to hit their stride, having scored 90 points in their last three matches whilst conceding a mere 28 points. They’re proving themselves as premiership contenders since their disappointing loss in round one. Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs, they’ll be without Origin five-eighth Cody Walker who is serving a one week suspension for his incident against the Bulldogs and will be replaced by Benji Marshall. Keaon Koloamatangi is also suspended, which brings Jacob Host back into second row, with Dean Hawkins coming onto the bench for his debut.

Broncos

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The Broncos’ embarrassment continued last Friday night with a 34-point loss to the Melbourne Storm, despite leading up until the 25th minute. Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen blew the Broncos off the park, scoring four tries in the space of eleven minutes in the lead up to half time, taking any air out the Broncos with him. The Broncos’ middle defence couldn’t seem to cope with the pace of the Storm backs after an offload from one of the Storm’s middle forwards. It was the Broncos’ darkest day of the season after promising signs over the opening three weeks – having scored at least 16 points in each fixture. However, the Broncos from Friday night very much looked like the Broncos from 2020.

The Broncos have two omissions from their round four side, with Herbie Farnworth and Patrick Carrigan missing through injury and suspension respectively. Richard Kennar will move into the centres as Tevita Pangai Junior moves into the number 13 jersey, whilst John Asiata joins the bench.

PREVIEW

To sum it up, Souths’ fans will be excited for this match whereas Brisbane’s fans will not. Souths just kept the Bulldogs scoreless on the weekend and will be expecting a similar outcome on Thursday night as Wayne Bennett looks to inflict further pain onto his former club. The loss of Walker shouldn’t trouble the home side too much as they still have the quality and class to thump this Broncos side. Middle forwards such as Cameron Murray and Jai Arrow should have a field day against this Broncos’ side that are struggling to defend. Perhaps the result won’t be as devastating without Walker there, but it’ll still be extremely hard for the Broncos to gain anything from this one.

Much more is going to be expected from Brisbane’s halves if they are to present any threat to the Rabbitohs’ defence. Anthony Milford, who has struggled over the past few years, looked at least dangerous when he ran the football on Friday night, but he’ll need to do more than that to help this Broncos side. The 26-year-old should insert himself into the game, running off Tom Dearden rather than playing as a first receiver himself, just to provide extra space and less defenders to run at. Even if these two were to start playing well together, it probably won’t be enough to knock off the Rabbitohs.

KEY STAT

South Sydney have won three of their past four matches against the Broncos, which includes one of Brisbane’s three wins for 2020. Obviously, Souths have recent history on their side, but prior to the 2019 season the Broncos had beaten the Rabbitohs on seven straight occasions. That stat shouldn’t play a factor on Thursday night, but it’s worth also noting that the Broncos are yet to win a game in Sydney since July 2019, which will certainly play a role in Thursday’s match.

PREDICTION

Souths by 18.

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