Today Rob Crosby looks at the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of season 2017. Can they ascend the #NRL ...
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Round 16 kicks off with a titanic clash. Both these teams come into this match on the back of a win and both sides sit within two points of each other in the top four. With very few rounds remaining this match will prove vital as both teams jockey for position. With so much to play for this is shaping up to easily be the match of the round.
Parramatta Eels ? Ronald Prince, Pat Richards, Willie Tonga, Chad Halliday, John Williams, Steve Witt, Jeff Robson, Kyle Leuluai, Daniel Irvine, Adam Wheller, Steve Crouch, Anthony Boyd, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Interchange: Sean L?Estrance, Brett Delaney, Nathan McMillan, Josh Dillon, Josh Cordoba, Nathan Hollingsworth, Matt Nightingale (Three to be omitted).
St George-Illawara Dragons ? Lee Bennett, Ben Creagh, Chris Nero, David Howell, Shane Laloata, Matthew Head, Dean Byrne, Justin Poore, Damien Bower, Steven Southern, Nathan Tutt, Gary McBride, Ryan Powell, Jason Ellem, Mark Dalle Cort, Brendan Wall, Josh Essex, Bryan Norrie, Don Dickson (Two to be omitted).
The next match of the round could prove to be a bit of a miss-match. Despite putting up a good show against the Cougars last week the reality is that Newcastle are in danger of taking the wooden spoon. Wests on the other hand sit comfortably in the middle of the table and won?t read much into their loss to the rampaging Raiders. With the added bonus of home ground advantage Wests will start as strong favourites.
Western Suburbs Magpies ? Ken McGuinness, Jordan Macey, Dean Collis, Jamie Szczerbanik, John Olzard, Clint Greenshields, John Peterson, Chris Paterson, Robert Mears, Clint Hill, Nigel Plum, Brett O?Farrell, Liam Fulton, Interchange: Brad Eisenhuth, Michael Papa, Wes Hallam-Mann, Ray Cashmere, Andrew Hampson, Chris Levy, Tere Glassie, Drew Dalton, Brett Rimmer (Five to be omitted).
Newcastle Knights ? Michael Young, Michael Fortier, Gavin Quinn, Jared Taylor, Joshua Smith, Bradley Wallace, Chris Tyrie, Tim Maddison, Michael Ennis, Daniel Tolar, Blake Mueller, Matthew Barlett, Todd Lowrie, Interchange: Brendan Worth, Riley Brown, Matthew White, Chris Nolan, Todd Bates, Mark Jaques, Shaun Wallace (Three to be omitted).
While on the surface this looks like the second miss-match in a row, Manly last week showed they are capable of upsetting a few of the big boys despite sitting in second to last place. Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles history will be betting against them as they were beaten soundly by Balmain earlier in the year at Leichardt Oval.
Balmain Tigers ? Team unavailable
Manly Sea Eagles ? Matt Hill, Daniel Walkins, Michael Bostick, Pat Foran, Sean Meaney, Michael Gill, Alex Moore, Phil Morwood, Craig Hayne Gary Winter, Anthony Watmough, Ben Ellis, Glenn Stewart, Interchange: Ryan Scott, Adam Cutherbertson, Dylan Montgomery, Clint Eadie, Mailangi Styles (One to be omitted).
Last time these next two teams met was in round 12 and between them 74 points were scored. If that match is anything to go by defence won?t be the main priority on Saturday afternoon. If it does turn into a score-a-thon then the Rabbitohs have the backs to seal the deal with the likes of McKinnon, Merritt, Richardson and Kativerata who all have first grade experience.
Newtown Jets ? Team unavailable
South Sydney Rabbitohs ? Wade McKinnon, Nathan Merritt, Russell Richardson, David Fa?alogo, Wise Kativerata, Luke Brannighan, Troy Robinson, Ryan Tandy, Shane Walker, Mark Meredith, David Buckley, Stacey Katu, Jess Caine, Interchange: James Storer, Fuifui Moirnoi, Kevin Henderson, Clint Cooke.
The next match pits the top of the table Raiders against the tenth placed Sharks. With home ground advantage the Raiders will come into this match as strong favourites. They have only dropped one match all year and racked up some big winning margins along the way with all signs pointing to the Raiders adding another notch to their belt on Sunday.
Canberra Raiders ? Matthew Gafa, Michael Robertson, Nathan Smith, Rod Jensen, Jack Pearson, Michael Monaghan, Jace Van Dijk, Darren Porter, Matt Doeg, Troy Thompson, Alan Rothery, Josh Miller, Simon Friend, Interchange: Mark Bryant, Kris Kahler, Jarred Lawrence, Mark Simon, Nick Kouparitsas, Adrian Purtell (Two to be omitted).
Cronulla Sharks ? Dave Simmons, Laloaoa Milford, Stephen Ross, Andrew Emelio, Adam Davidson, Andrew Dallalana, Travis Burns, Don Tweddle, Pat Gibson, Shaun Wessell, Jnr Paulo, Reece Williams, Greg Bird, Interchange: Nick Paterson, Nathan Vagg, Cameron Ciraldo, Jye Mullane, Nick Youngquest, John Wood (Two to be omitted).
The Bears can?t buy a win this year and theres little chance the Bulldogs will be selling one on Sunday. The two sides were on opposite ends of the scale last weekend with the Bulldogs handing out a thrashing and the Bears getting thrashed. The Bulldogs may be down a little on firepower though without their international centre Willie Talau.
Canterbury Bulldogs v Central Coast Bears Sunday 27 July, 12:40 at Sydney Showground Referee: Gavin Badger Touch Judges: Darryn Lang and Luke Bugden
Canterbury Bulldogs ? Team unavailable
Central Coast Bears ? Team unavailable
The final match of the round takes place at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Both sides need the win but for different reasons. The Cougars want to stay in touch with the top four while the Roosters hope to keep their finals aspirations alive. The Panthers should win a tight one.
St Marys-Penrith Cougars ? Steve Turner, Chris Hicks, Shane Elford, Shaun Ata, Luke Dyer, Daniel Russell, Ben Reynolds, Garret Crossman, Shannon Donato, Peter Lewis, Richard Fa?aoso, Danny Galea, David McLean, Interchange: George Rose, Matthew Pow, Ben Rogers, Tim Maccan.
Sydney Roosters ? Henari Veratau, Steve Skinnon, Lelea Paea, Lopini Paea, Eric Grothe, Aaron Lewis, Grant Rovelli, David Shillington, Wade Humphreys, Todd Ollivier, Ned Catic, Richard Russell, Ben Wellington, Interchange: Josh Cale, Shawn Mackay, Tyrone Smith, Willie Bishop, Tavita Metuisela (One to be omitted).
Matches at a glance: Eels v Dragons Magpies v Knights Tigers v Sea Eagles Jets v Rabbitohs Raiders v Sharks Bulldogs v Bears Cougars v Roosters