PREVIEW: Brisbane Broncos vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

The National Rugby League ANZAC round gets underway at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night when Brisbane Broncos host South Sydney Rabbitohs.

LAST TIME OUT

Contrasting results for both sides heading into round 8.

On the one hand, Brisbane Broncos eclipsed Newcastle Knights in a rare Saturday night home game 53-0.  Once again Anthony Milford was the star in scoring a hat-trick and setting up one other in a ten tries to nil routing.  Like Milford, Corey Oates also crossed three times against the depleted visitors.  The win was a huge boost for their points differential as they sit at the top of the ladder with fellow Queensland side and current champs North Queensland Cowboys in second.  Many saying these two will meet again on the first weekend in October.

On the other, South Sydney Rabbitohs were outgunned by North Queensland Cowboys 44-18 at 1300 Smiles Stadium last Friday night. It was a night further soured by Greg Inglis’ concussion as they fell to their fourth loss in the last five matches.  Their form a long way from their 2014 premiership winning form that was based on the brilliance of Inglis with a touch of Adam Reynolds in superb form.  Now this team leaks points, conceding five second half tries.  Plenty of headaches for Madge Maguire as his men head to Brisbane this weekend. Hymel Hunt was charged with a Grade 1 careless high tackle by the Match Review Committee but with the early guilty plea will play on Friday night.  South Sydney in eighth spot and are at the head of six teams all on six points.

KEY BATTLES

A couple of intriguing battles coming up in Friday’s clash.

The fullbacks in Inglis and Boyd might well be playing for a test berth at fullback, though James Tedesco will have other thoughts.  Inglis has struggled this season to be at his rampaging best.  In the pre-season there were suggestions that he would be heading to Red Hill once his contract was finished with the Rabbitohs.  On the other hand you have Boyd, playing well in a winning team.  Just maybe he will be handed his eighteenth test cap in the number 1 jumper.  A fascinating battle looms with Boyd the favourite to come out best on Friday night.

Then there’s the battle in the halves with  Ben Hunt and Adam Reynolds.  I don’t think Hunt is yet quite over the Grand Final loss as his form hasn’t been as good as in 2015.  Reynolds started the season off with a one-man show until going off injured against the Sydney Roosters.  Both have the potential to open up this game.

In the forwards it’s Corey Parker up against Sam Burgess.  Parker has been the mainstay of Brisbane’s forward pack since 2001 and will be making his 331st appearance this weekend, passing Nathan Hindmarsh into sixth spot.  Sam Burgess was Mr South Sydney in 2014, went to rugby and then hasn’t been able to dominate this year like he has in the past.  Will Burgess lift South Sydney to an upset?  Or will it be the cool Corey Parker to lead the Broncos to victory?

PREDICTION

Only a special effort from Sam Burgess, Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds could stop the Brisbane juggernaut from their seventh win this season.

Broncos by 16.

SQUADS

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Corey Oates, 3 Jack Reed, 4 James Roberts, 5 Jordan Kahu, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 Josh McGuire, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Matthew Gillett, 13 Corey Parker. Interchange: 14 Jarrod Wallace, 15 Sam Thaiday, 16 Joseph Ofahengaue, 17 Kodi Nikorima.

Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis, 2 Bryson Goodwin, 3 Kirisome Auva’a, 4 Hymel Hunt, 5 Aaron Gray, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 David Tyrrell, 11 Christopher Grevsmuhl, 12 Kyle Turner, 13 Samuel Burgess. Interchange: 14 Paul Carter, 15 Jason Clark, 16 Nathan Brown, 17 George Burgess, 18 Damien Cook.

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