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2021 NRL Round 15 Preview, Broncos Vs Rabbitohs

Andrew Pelechaty previews the Round 15 opener, with Brisbane hosting South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Date: Thursday June 17, Time: 7:50pm

Broncos Team

  1. Tesi Niu
  2. Xavier Coates
  3. Herbie Farnworth
  4. Jesse Arthars
  5. Selwyn Cobbo
  6. Karmichael Hunt
  7. Tyson Gamble
  8. Matt Lodge
  9. Jake Turpin
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Alex Glenn
  12. Tevita Pangai Junior
  13. Thomas Flegler
  14. Kobe Hetherington
  15. John Asiata
  16. Keenan Palasia
  17. TC Robati
  18. Cory Paix
  19. Jordan Riki
  20. Rhys Kennedy
  21. Dale Copley

Team Changes

IN: Jordan Riki
Rhys Kennedy
Xavier Coates


OUT: nil

Rabbitohs Team

  1. Latrell Mitchell
  2. Alex Johnston
  3. Dane Gagai
  4. Campbell Graham
  5. Taane Milne
  6. Cody Walker
  7. Adam Reynolds
  8. Mark Nicholls
  9. Damien Cook
  10. Tevita Tatola
  11. Keaon Koloamatangi
  12. Jai Arrow
  13. Cameron Murray
  14. Braidon Burns
  15. Hame Sele
  16. Thomas Burgess
  17. Jacob Host
  18. Blake Taaffe
  19. Liam Knight
  20. Josh Mansour
  21. Jaydn Su’A

Team Changes

IN: Cameron Murray
Damien Cook
Dane Gagai
Jai Arrow
Josh Mansour


OUT:
Benji Marshall
Peter Mamouzelos

Referee: Adam Gee

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Broncos

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Like re-runs of Two and a Half Men and an “extra special edition that the whole family must watch” of A Current Affair, the Brisbane Broncos are part of Channel Nine’s furniture, so it’s no surprise that they’re back on Thursday night after a week off, and back at Lang Park.

On a more serious note, Brisbane seem to have regressed after their round 11 win over the Sydney Roosters: they’ve since lost to Melbourne (40-12), St George Illawarra (52-24), and Canberra (38-16). The Dragons and Raiders losses involved familiar second half fadeouts as they trailed the Dragons 24-18 at halftime, and the Raiders 22-10. Neither were insurmountable deficits, but they both became blowouts. It’s a worrying sign after coach Kevin Walters had tried so hard to bring pride back into the jersey.

Rabbitohs

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After heavy losses to Melbourne and Penrith, Souths are finding their mojo again with comfortable wins over Parramatta (38-20) and Newcastle (24-10). With only Latrell Mitchell backing up from Origin, the dependable Alex Johnston stepped up, scoring another hat-trick as Souths shook off a tenacious Knights. Johnston scored the first two tries as Souths led 12-10 at halftime and his third gave Souths a vital eight-point break. Souths could’ve won by more, but bombed a couple of late tries.

In good news for the Rabbits (but bad news for Brisbane), they welcome back Origin reps Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Dane Gagai, and Jai Arrow, while veteran Benji Marshall drops out of the squad.

PREVIEW

With Adam Reynolds moving to Red Hill in 2022, what’s the bet he’s treating this as an early audition for next year? He probably won’t need to, as Brisbane’s halfback crisis means he’ll walk into the starting 13. However, he’ll still want to impress Walters.

This could spell pain for the Broncos, as a motivated Reynolds should equal a big Souths win. The Rabbitohs are one of the most dangerous attacking teams in the NRL (averaging 26 points/game in 2021) and can destroy struggling teams: they’ve beaten Canterbury-Bankstown 38-0, Brisbane 35-6, Gold Coast 40-30 (trailing 24-10 at halftime), Canberra 34-20, and Parramatta 38-20. If the Broncos aren’t careful, this could get uglier than a Freddy Krueger cosplay contest.

KEY STAT

While Souths have won the past two Sydney games comfortably, Brisbane beat Souths at Lang Park 22-18 way back in round two, 2020.

PREDICTION

Sorry, Broncos fans, but this will be Souths by a cricket score. The Rabbitohs are coming off two big wins, the Broncos are a rabble again, and Reynolds will be looking to impress. 

Rabbitohs by 20.

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