By Guest Writer Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 21 – South Sydney Rabbitohs V Wests Tigers – Sunday, ANZ Stadium 15.00 local time, 17.00 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: South Sydney destroyed the St. George Illawarra Dragons 36-14 to continue their run of excellence this season which saw them in third place.
Wests were ravaged with injuries in a 29-16 loss against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.
THIS WEEK: The Rabbitohs will have to handle being without their two big attacking weapons due to suspension. Greg Inglis after his shot on Dean Young last week, while Isaac Luke serves his second and last week from two weeks. They are definite premiership contenders, and to prove that they will need a good win here without those two. The Rabbitohs have come of age this year, with a side that can win it. To get over the Tigers however it will be a big task. They need to continue to use their big boppers effectively as they have this season to get off to the best possible start early.
Tigers have been on big winning and losing streaks this year – which is the rocks or diamonds team they have always been. Their inconsistencies are what make them dangerous. If they lay down all their cards they could easily pull off a big victory, but if things don’t go according to plan it’s a terrible opposite. For them to have any chance to beat the Rabbits, they will need to lay down all their cards. A team that has success written all over them need to start showing what they’re made of before it’s too late.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Big boys doing big things to make sure they get the upper hand. Despite the injuries all season, their forward pack have answered any question thrown at them which is why they’ve been so good this year. I expect nothing different. It’s what has gotten them out of losing situations all season, and they are big, strong and reliable. The best forward pack South Sydney have had in a long time. With that out of the way – it gives lots of time and space for the glory hogs to finish off strong, scoring the tries they all have in them.
Wests, with the pressure of missing out on the eight will turn up to play. They can’t afford not to. When the crunch is on that’s when we witness the best performances from them. Wests can produce almost anything from anywhere on the field, and with that sort of style it’s going to be entertainment at its finest. Tim Sheens is as experienced as they come, and he will know exactly what will work for this sort of situation.
THE BATTLE OF: Silky Seven’s. Adam Reynolds is no doubt the Rookie of the Year this season. He has been incredible since the get go and has not looked back. Whether he’s running at the line, setting up tries, converting them or slotting match-winning field goals – his presence on the field is refreshing and he has already become a superstar. He has a wise head on his shoulders, and plays years beyond himself. A bright spark for the future and the key for success for this Rabbitohs side.
Benji Marshall has never played the same game twice. His flair and skills are second to none and the way he directs his troops around is the reason why the Tigers can be so tough. Extremely valuable to this team, everything Benji touches can and mostly will turn to gold. Watch out.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: John Sutton – More of a ball playing back rower, when he gets the ball in hand everyone on defence needs to be careful. Built solidly, and with his offloading abilities he can create danger if not wrapped up in a tackle.
Keith Galloway – Every team needs a ginger, and this one is as tough as they come. He can put the hits on as well as take them and has always been there when the Tigers have needed him.
Sunday afternoon football is always a great and tough game of football. This will prove no different. How will the Rabbitohs fare this time around? The Tigers need to keep their season alive….Who will be more desperate? The Rabbitohs will be too strong, with a 26-20 victory.
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