Matt Pritchard previews the clash between eighth placed South Sydney Rabbitohs and tenth placed Canberra Raiders, to be played at Apex Oval this Sunday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Canberra Raiders
Venue: Apex Oval, Dubbo
Date: Sunday May 22, 2pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Alex Johnston 3. Jaxson Paulo 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Trent Peoples 13. Jai Arrow 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Davvy Moale 16. Siliva Havili 17. Liam Knight 18. Peter Mamouzelos 19. Isaiah Tass 20. Josh Mansour 21. Shaq Mitchell 22. Dean Hawkins 23. Richard Kennar 24. Hame Sele
South Sydney Rabbitohs was forced into a change after Jacob Host suffered a shoulder injury which may require surgery. Trent Peoples will come into his side for his second National Rugby League appearance after his first was shrouded in controversy after reports he wasn’t officially registered by the governing body.Embed from Getty Images
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Matt Frawley 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Harawira-Naera 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Xavier Savage 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Adam Elliott 19. Brad Schneider 20. Harry Rushton 21. Adrian Trevilyan 22. James Schiller 23. Emre Guler 24. Trey Mooney
A disrupted week for the Canberra Raiders with flu striking the squad and reports that they haven’t completed a full training session in the lead-up to the game. At the time of publication, the Raiders were yet to make a call on whether these players would be fit to take their place. Jack Wighton returns to the starting line-up after sitting out the past two matches for a dangerous throw charge.
Referee: Peter Gough
Apex Oval in Dubbo will host its second National Rugby League encounter when the South Sydney Rabbitohs host Canberra Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides head to New South Wales’ Central West coming off Magic Round victories.
South Sydney with thirty minutes to play led 32-6 and were entitled to repeat their 60-22 performance against the New Zealand Warriors on the Sunshine Coast last year. However, Warriors staged a great comeback to only go down by two points.
Canberra on the other hand were super impressive with a tactical game to bombard Sione Katoa in the first half paying off as they shot out to lead 20-0. Their online defence stood strong against the backdrop of sin-bins as they recorded their best win of 2022 in their 30-10 score line.
The Rabbitohs will be striving to go back-to-back for only the second time this season.
This is certainly a danger game given their inconsistency in results but also creates an opportunity to build their campaign with games against the Tigers, Titans and Dragons in the coming month. Along with the return of Mark Nicholls, Latrell Mitchell and Cam Murray in the same period, South Sydney’s season will improve.
The same can be said about the Raiders with some disappointing results over the last month in going down to the Cowboys, Panthers, and a golden point loss to the Warriors before wins against the Bulldogs and Sharks. An opportunity to beat a top eight sides in the Rabbitohs, Eels, Roosters and Broncos mid-season could see the Raiders return to being a serious top eight contender.
With the reports of Ricky Stuart’s side being struck down by the flu, South Sydney have the upper hand despite some of their big guns being on the sidelines. It could be an afternoon out for Rabbitohs flyer Alex Johnston who’s well below his 2021 strike rate of 30 tries in 22 games, only having 7 on the board after 10 matches.
Damien Cook could also be a major contributor to the Rabbitohs cause with Origin just around the corner, the New South Wales hooker will be looking to fine-tune his performance ahead of selection.
Should the Raiders play with courage like last week’s performance against the Sharks, it may not be a matter of who they put on the field but how prepared they are to put their body on the line to keep in touch with the top eight. Jack Wighton’s return is a huge boost and his combination with experienced Matt Frawley may be the key to their hopes.Embed from Getty Images
Canberra have beaten South Sydney in six of their last ten matches, including the 54-4 win over the Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium back in 2016. However, their recent record in regional NSW suggests a tough afternoon. They lost to the Storm (30-16, Wagga Wagga) and Sea Eagles (25-6, Mudgee) earlier this season and Newcastle (24-16, Wagga Wagga) in 2021. Can they overcome travel sickness and take out last year’s Grand Finalists?
Rabbitohs by 12.
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