Andrew Pelechaty previews the round nine opener between South Sydney and Brisbane …
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
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Rabbitohs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Josh Mansour 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Siliva Havili 15. Hame Sele 16. Liam Knight 17. Jaxson Paulo 18. Trent Peoples 19. Taane Milne 20. Richard Kennar 21. Peter Mamouzelos 22. Dean Hawkins 23. Josiah Karapani 24. Davvy Moale
After a slow start, last year runners up are warming to the task in 2022, with three wins from their last four, even without Latrell Mitchell.
Souths saw off a tenacious Manly Warringah last Friday night, winning 40-22 on the Central Coast. The Sea Eagles were down to 12 men after eight minutes, with Karl Lawton sent off. It was an entertaining first half, with Souths leading 18-16 (tries to Keaon Koloamatangi, Alex Johnston, and Isaiah Tass). The Rabbits kicked away in the second half, with tries to Thomas Burgess, Cody Walker, Cameron Murray, and Blake Taaffe (who also kicked six goals).
Liam Knight returns to the bench, with Davvy Moale going to the extended bench. Shaquai Mitchell is out of the 24 and Isaiah Tass keeps his spot in the centres.Embed from Getty Images
Broncos: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Patrick Carrigan 11. TC Robati 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington 14. Cory Paix 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Keenan Palasia 18. Brenko Lee 19. Jordan Pereira 20. Ryan James 21. Ezra Mam 22. Ethan Quai-Ward 23. Logan Bayliss-Brow 24. Jake Turpin
Brisbane continued their improved 2022, with an important win over Cronulla-Sutherland at Lang Park.
While the high-flying Sharks were favourites (and led 7-6 at half-time), Herbie Farnworth and Kurt Capewell scored second half tries for the Broncos to win 16-7. While Brisbane may be kings of Thursday and Friday night footy, performances like this show they deserve it. The win also put Brisbane in touch with the eight for the first time since early 2020. The dark days of the last two years seem to be behind them.
Payne Haas and Kurt Capewell will miss the trip to Sydney due to injury. TC Robati replaces Capewell in the back row and Patrick Carrigan returns from a knee injury.
Referee: Grant Atkins
The Family Guy manatees who write the NRL fixture decided to have Souths and Brisbane play each other twice in the first two months. While giving the Rabbitohs and Broncos the season’s opening Friday game made sense (though Adam Reynolds’ omission meant he wouldn’t play his old side first up), having the rematch so soon seems ridiculous. Ideally, every team should play each other once in the first 15 rounds, and then have the return bouts (which could be decided by grouping teams based on the previous year’s rankings, for example).
Brisbane surprised Souths 11-4 in round one, and this return clash could be another cracker! How will the Rabbits welcome Reynolds back home? Will they target him?
While the Sharks were a big scalp, this game will show how serious Brisbane’s finals aspirations are. One of their biggest improvements has been their efforts against the heavyweights: they pushed Easts all the way at Lang Park, competed with Penrith for an hour on Good Friday, and beat the Sharks.
While Souths aren’t up to last year’s grand final heights, they’re getting there, and this game will test them as Brisbane – like Manly last weekend – will keep coming at them. Souths have a kind draw after this game: NZ Warriors, Canberra, Wests (another too-soon rematch), Gold Coast, and St George Illawarra. If Souths beat the Broncos and win most (if not all) of these other games, and they’ll be in top four contention again heading into the second half of the season.
Expect a close game, with Souths having just enough class to get the win.
While Brisbane and Souths enjoyed contrasting fortunes through the ’90s (Brisbane became a powerhouse with four premierships – including the Super League title – and the Super League World Club Championship; while Souths missed every finals series before being “rationalised” out of the NRL from 2000), Souths beat the Broncos in the 1994 pre-season Tooheys Challenge Final.
South Sydney 27 (J.Donougher, T.Smith, S.Wilson, P.Mellor, C.Field tries; J.Corcoran 3 goals; D.McRae field goal)
Brisbane 26 (W.Carne 2, T.Matterson, Kevin Walters, S.Renouf tries; Matterson 3 goals) at Lavington Sports Ground, Albury, Friday night, March 4, 1994 (7.30pm).
Rabbitohs by 10.
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