TEAMS: QRL U21 Hastings Deering Colts - 2022 Round 16
17 hours ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
Saturday afternoon football returns to the Sunshine Coast for the first time since Round 1 when the South Sydney Rabbitohs play host to the New Zealand Warriors.
The Rabbitohs campaign in 2022 has been a stop start affair with pockets of good form intertwined with some pretty average form. The past few weeks have seen the Rabbitohs bounce back to form with the return of Latrell Mitchell although they were stopped in their tracks after their 21-20 golden point defeat against the Sharks.
Souths sit seventh on the NRL ladder and the 2021 Grand Finalists are far from being secure from gaining a spot in the top 8 for 2022 if their form slumps. The Rabbitohs have won 11 games this season and their improvement in performances coincides with the Latrell Mitchell who has helped Souths into some consistent form.
The Rabbitohs have had some mixed team news with Taane Milne returning from injury to the centres which fills a gap with Jed Cartwright while Souths have lost Tom Burgess through suspension after being sent off during golden point last week. The loss of Burgess though is offset with Mark Nicholls returning from injury.
The New Zealand Warriors are out of finals contention as they sit down in 13th place with just five victories this season. The Warriors have only won one match since Round 8 this season but they have been in the majority of their contests including last weekend's 24-12 loss to the Storm in Auckland.
Despite being out of finals contention, the Warriors have shown glimpses of form in the past weeks and they have the ability to push any team in the competition which they showed in their last contest against the Rabbitohs when they were 32-6 down to come back to a 32-30.
The Warriors have lost Chanel Harris-Tavita to a knee injury with Wayde Egan moving to the five-eighth role with Freddy Lussick moving to the starting hooker role. The Warriors welcome back Aaron Pene, Bayley Sironen and Jack Murchie from injury and illness whilst Jazz Tevaga is ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Last meeting: Round 10 2022 - Warriors 30 Rabbitohs 32
Who to watch: The performances of Cody Walker have been questioned this season along with a perceived view of poor sportsmanship from the Rabbitohs star will put him in the focus this week. Walker has turned up in frequently this season and has made an impact at times and against a Warriors side with nothing to lose, he has to step up.
After being dropped from the Warriors starting side a fortnight ago, Reece Walsh returned to fullback last week and put in a solid performance. The departing Warrior needs to step up with Chanel Harris-Tevita ruled out of the contest with Walsh only scoring one try this season.
The favourite: The Rabbitohs are strong favourites for the contest.
My tip: It's hard to go past the Rabbitohs, their performances in recent weeks have been strong and they have a strong line-up right across the park and should be able to easily account for the spirited Warriors side that will turn up. Rabbitohs by 16.
1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 4. Isaiah Tass 5. Jaxson Paulo 18. Izaac Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Davvy Moale 16. Siliva Havili 17. Mark Nicholls 3. Taane Milne
1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Euan Aitken 5. Edward Kosi 6. Wayde Egan 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Freddy Lussick 10. Tohu Harris 11. Bayley Sironen 12. Jack Murchie 13. Aaron Pene 14. Taniela Otukolo 15. Bunty Afoa 17. Josh Curran 18. Jackson Frei 22. Adam Pompey
Referees: Ben Cummins; Sideline Officials: Nick Morel, Michael Wise; Video Referees: Kasey Badger;