One of the hardest away trips to make, the Cowboys in red hot defensive form at home(conceding only 14 points this year) and a returning halfback with no game time under his belt. The challenges the Rabbitohs face this Friday night at 1300 Smiles Stadium are more than just those of a regular home and away game.
Apart from the Broncos v Cowboys games this year, this match against the Rabbitohs is the one game I am looking forward to the most. If you look at the lists across the park there are battles everywhere, and neither the Rabbitohs or Cowboys are showing the form that won them titles in 2014 and 2015 respectively. But both sides are almost desperate for a win on a couple counts. One, to provide some stability to both their seasons. Two to benchmark themselves against the other top sides in the comp.
This game is so hard to pick and I believe it will be more than ball control and completion rate that will decide a winner. It’s going to be across the park and who aims up and wins individual battles. I believe there is a key in the Cowboys attack and an area they might target. So in this analysis lets look at those match ups and where we think either team can gain ascendancy.
Up Front - The Burgess Boys v Scott, Tamou, Taumalolo
They all bring so much to the table. Scott probably the hardest working. Sam Burgess has the most skill of the group. George Burgess is the most difficult to stop close to the line. Jason Taumalolo (JT2) is the best and most destructive runner in open field general play in the NRL at the moment. If the whole pack from both sides bring the biscuits this is going to be an explosive battle. Taumalolo for me Is the difference in the packs, he gains so many running metres from so little game time, which not only makes him the freshest of the packs he just looks hungriest. Watch out Australia in a couple of weeks’ time if JT2 makes the Kiwi side!
At the Back - Lachlan Coote v Greg Inglis
The best fullback in the comp at the moment vs one of the best in history. If both teams are completing at a high rate, carries back out of the red zone will be of utmost importance. Although Inglis looks battered bruised, and looks as though he is running on one leg, he is one of the best ever and if GI is in a mood no one will stop him. With more on the line for Souths than North Queensland , GI might look to stamp his authority on the game. Coote brings a different option for the cowboys, he pops up on JTs hip close to the line and while everyone is looking to see if Morgan will run Coote slips a cheeky pass outside and pulls your pants down, happened twice last week against Penrith on both sides of the ground.
In the Halves - Reynolds and Keary v JT and Morgan
There is no doubt the Rabbitohs have been missing Reynolds, he brings so much structure to their game and on his day is right up there with the best no7's. In the game. He comes close to Origin every year and with enough game time under his belt could push for selection again. Then you have JT and without been in the form he was last year he is building into the season and I think biding his time until he has to step up. As I said in a previous article it’s a long season and JT is no spring chicken so you can already tell he is managing his workload for September. I think we are still a few weeks away from seeing the best JT has to offer. So it’s the solid performer vs the returning Souths stalwart. My money is on JT to tip the scales here, purely because he relishes night games at home and Reynolds simply hasn’t got enough game time to match JT.
— NQ Cowboys (@nthqldcowboys) April 12, 2016
The teams for the round 7 clash between the Nth. Qld Cowboys and Souths Rabbitohs at 1300 Smiles Stadium this Friday night.
Keary v Morgan
Completely different styles of player, massive size difference, and speed difference. I wouldn’t be surprised if in attack Morgan and Taumalolo focus a lot on trying to single Keary out of the line. Although he is not weak in defense by any means. When Morgan runs two wide almost no one in the comp can stop him. The only thing that might fizz this battle out is they both play different ‘positionally’, with Keary sticking closer to the middle of the ruck. If they do go head to head Morgan wins hands down. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they don’t lay a hand on each other all night.
More than anything I hope both sides play to their potential because this has the makings of an absolute belter. The key for the cowboys is Jason TaumaloIo and if he and Morgan can work something out around Keary's side of the field this will be the difference. I think I have given enough hints to what I think the Cowboys game plan is. I can’t pick a score because I just don’t know, however I’m going to go out on a limb and say if the Rabbitohs win it will be a close one 14-10. If the Cowboys win it will be a blowout 28-8.
The North Queensland Cowboys V South Sydney Rabbitohs, Friday Aprill 15 1300 Smiles Stadium. Check your local television guides for coverage, the teams:
- NQL: 1. Coote 2. Feldt 3. O'Neill 4. Bowen 5. Winterstein 6. Morgan 7. Thurston 8. Scott (c) 9. Granville 10. Tamou 11.Cooper 12. Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo Interchange: Kostjasyn, Asiata, Bolton, Hannant
Souths: 1. Inglis 2. Goodwin 3. Auva'a 4. Hunt 5. Gray 6. Keary 7. Reynolds 8. Burgess T. 9. Mcinnes 10. Tyrrell 11. Grevsmuhl 12. Turner 13. Burgess S. Interchange: Carter, Clark, Brown, Burgess G.