Round 8: Rabbitohs v Broncos preview
Contrasting fortunes meet in a now annual ANZAC Round fixture.
Thursday night footy sees us land at ANZ Stadium where the South Sydney Rabbitohs bring their hot form into a clash with an inconsistent, frustrating Broncos outfit. For Bunnies fans, it's been several weeks of winning form after a big win over the Raiders last week, which backed up a solid performance when they defeated the Roosters the week before.
Brisbane meanwhile are tracking up-and-down, last week losing to a red-hot Storm but having beaten the high-flying Warriors just a week earlier. They are still struggling to sort their halves out and this week their lineup woes have been made all the more difficult with hooker Andrew McCullough injured for a month. The consistency of their 17 not withstanding, they've shown they're capable of some great footy, particularly since the return of Jack Bird from injury a few weeks ago.
At the selection desk there's only one change for South Sydney - a forced one with Sam Burgess suspended for a fortnight. Cameron Murray returns from injury, slotting straight back into the side at lock. The Broncos have opted for Josh McGuire as the hooker option replacing McCullough, which sees Tevita Pangai Junior shifted to lock. Jaydn Su'A is set to line up in the second row with Korbin Sims benched, and for now, Sam Tagataese takes the vacant bench spot - although Payne Haas remains an option for Bennett in the lead-up to kickoff.
Since Brisbane's admission in 1988, these sides have faced off 36 times and it's been one-way traffic with the Broncos victorious on 26 occasions to Souths' 9. At ANZ, Brisbane are equally as successful with 6 wins from 8 games.
Who to watch: It's game 250 for Greg Inglis and if you missed his 249th, you're in for a treat when you check out the highlights. G.I. appears to be approaching the form that saw him help guide the Bunnies to their 2014 title and provided he stays fit, he's key to a rejuvenated Rabbitohs making a serious finals tilt.
It goes without saying eyes will be on Josh McGuire as he wears the #9 jumper for the first time in his first grade career. If he carries out his role well, then Brisbane can expect to be competitive in a game they are expected to struggle in. If he is struggling, watch for Kodi Nikorima to jump into the dummy half role.
My tip: Brisbane have the better record historically but in terms of form it's hard to go past the Bunnies. Most telling for the home side will be how they cope with Sam Burgess' omission again, although if previous weeks are to go by, they should fill that void easily. Rabbitohs by 12.