Today Rob Crosby looks at the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of season 2017. Can they ascend the #NRL ...
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A full preview of all the Round 7 Intrust Super Cup action thanks to the QRL, together with Ben "Dobbo" Dobson's tips.
Full Round 7 teamlists & match officials - click HERE.
All times are AEST.
After two weeks away - the Hunters return home looking to re-establish Kalabond Oval as a ‘graveyard' for visiting teams following their round 4 defeat by the Northern Pride. Tweed Heads will be keen to snare an important away victory - and will also aim to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Thompson Teteh returns to a re-shuffled PNG line-up, along with Gonzela Urakusie, Noel Zemming and Adam Korave. Noel Joel, Joe Bruno and Esau Siune have all not been named; while the Hunters will also be without forward Mark Mexico who has signed with the Cronulla Sharks. The Hunters will miss "Mark the Shark's" hard running, but will again re-group as they have previously when another NRL club came knocking - that time taking Wellington Albert to the Panthers. The Seagulls have made multiple changes with five-eighth Beau Henry sitting out the week with a one-match suspension for striking. Josh Harvey and Chris Piper have also not been named, with Tom Merritt, Cody Nelson and Zac Friend returning to the side. Interestingly, prop Damien Sironen - who scored Tweed's first try in last weekend's 12-8 win over Mackay - is the club's leading try scorer so far this season, having crossed for four tries in six games.
Ben ‘Dobbo' Dobbin (Triple M) says: Two weeks on the road for the Hunters did not bear much fruit - a draw with Easts and a loss to the Jets (which I predicted). Back at home with a point to prove, the departure of Mark Mexico to the NRL is a massive loss, but at the same time a huge feather in the cap of the Hunters. Tweed had a fantastic win in Mackay last weekend to kick start their season, but this will be a different ball game. PNG Hunters by 12.
POSTPONED - NORTHERN PRIDE v EASTS TIGERS
Although there was high anticipation for this match (we had even selected the Northern Pride to be this week's cover stars for the programme) - Mother Nature has had other plans. Cyclone Ita is bearing down on the region and the decision was made to postpone the match until July 6. Stay safe North Queensland!
Here is the official QRL statement:
"These decisions are never easy, we always try to consider all options with the safety and welfare of the clubs our first priority,'' QRL Competitions Manager Jamie O'Connor said today.
"One of those alternatives was bringing the Northern Pride to Brisbane this weekend, however we felt that it was more important for the players and coaching staff to remain with their families."
Capras coach Jason Hetherington has rewarded his team for their performance last weekend by naming an unchanged team. Trailing Redcliffe 16-6 at half-time, they clawed their way back into the game and went on to claim a 16-16 draw. The Capras held the Dolphins scoreless in the second half in a great defensive display. However, fellow "Baralaba Boy" Corey Oates - who scored a try in the match - has been named on the bench for the Brisbane Broncos and may need to be replaced in the second row. For Norths, Mark Gliddon too has mostly stayed faithful with his team, with only two changes made to the side who went down 24-22 to the Northern Pride in an exciting match. Prop Jamie Muller and James Geurtjens are the new additions, while Jarrod Wallace (extended Broncos bench) and Francis Molo have not been named. The Devils have a strong record against the Capras and have won five of the past six games played, including the last three games at Browne Park. Norths winger Rogan Dean is currently the competition's leading try scorer with nine tries from six games and he is well on track to beat Norths' Cup season try-scoring record of 21 set by Derek Fletcher in 2004.
‘Dobbo' says: The Capras were unlucky not to win last week against Redcliffe. The Central Queenslanders are improving every week with what most say is the biggest pack in the competition. Corey Oates is expected to return to the Broncos and this is a huge loss. The Devils will still be hurting from last week's loss and also from getting their bus jammed on a gutter on the way out of the ground. I am predicting an upset. CQ are starting to get on a roll and will make things difficult for the Devils. Central Queensland Capras by 4.
It was the "Mitchell show" last week with Mitchell Buckett, Mitchell Krause and Mitchell Frei scoring tries in the Seagulls' come-from-behind win over Souths Logan. Krause snared a double, with his spectacular long range effort in the 70th minute a contender for try of the season. But this week the focus will be on Buckett, who plays his first match against the Falcons since leaving the Sunshine Coast at the end of 2012. The big winger/centre was signed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs last year but has returned to the Intrust Super Cup this year with Wynnum Manly. On the milestone front, key Seagulls halfback Matt Seamark requires 11 points to become the eighth player to score 800 points in Cup history. Ivan Henjak's Falcons go into this match searching for their first win of the season. The Falcons put a scare through the Burleigh Bears last week when they scored first through Phil Taylor. But Burleigh kicked clear in the second half with four tries to post a 30-6 win.
‘Dobbo' says: Jake Granville won't cut his hair (despite my urgings) but his Seagulls keep on winning! Wynnum are on fire with David Stagg and captain Tim Natusch adding plenty of starch to the Seagulls' pack. The Falcons are having some really good periods in games and some not so good, but they could find it really tough here. Wynnum Manly Seagulls by 20.
After serving a one match suspension, livewire Redcliffe halfback Adrian Davis comes back into the Dolphins line-up for Sunday's match against the Souths Logan Magpies. Davis' return means Tim Foster slots back into the club's FOGS Cup team. The other change to the Dolphins' 17 sees the return of experienced winger Liam Georgetown, who has notched up 137 first grade games in the red and white. The try-scoring whiz replaces Brett Coutts on the wing. Souths Logan have reshuffled their line-up, with Grant Cooke and Shane Duck coming into the starting side for David Faamita and Sam Mataora. The Magpies last week held a good early lead over the Wynnum Manly, only to be run down late in the game by the Seagulls. While the competition is still in its early days, this is a crucial match for both sides with the Magpies (eight points) in fifth and the Dolphins eighth (seven points). Redcliffe are undefeated in their last six games against Souths Logan (5 wins, 1 draw); but interestingly Souths Logan won six in a row before that.
‘Dobbo' says: Finally coach Josh Hannay has listened to me with the selection of Max Dudley (AKA Love Rat) who makes his Magpies debut off the bench. Lock up your wives and girlfriends! Seriously though, this should be a great game. Redcliffe will want to make things right in front of their home crowd after letting slip last week's game. Maybe the draw had something to do with reports that Jono Green had a car load of players water skiing at Moogerah Dam the day before! Souths Logan Magpies by 6.
Mackay Cutters enter Sunday's "must-win" match without skipper Tyson Martin who is serving a one match suspension for striking. NQ Cowboy John Asiata comes into the starting side for a Cutters outfit which will receive some simple instructions from coach Kim Williams. "We just need to hang onto the footy," Williams said. "Last week we had six incomplete sets in a row during the second half. "That is the game, Tweed scored off the back of that. We just need to be better with our ball control." The Cutters are undefeated in their last four games against Burleigh (3 wins, 1 draw), but the Bears have the home ground advantage and are coming off a strong second-half display against the Sunshine Coast last week. Burleigh scored 24 unanswered points in the final 40 minutes of their round six match against a committed Falcons team. Bears centre Khan Ahwang - the competition's leading points scorer - kicked five goals in that match to take his season tally to 74 points.
‘Dobbo' says: Last year's premiers desperately need this game. They had a couple of tough losses and last week against the Tweed has really hurt them. However, they're on TV this week and that normally brings form reversals. Burleigh's Steve Michaels is playing some great football and is pressing for a spot with the Titans. Hard one to pick. Mackay Cutters by 6.