Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
The Rabbitohs and Titans look to resurrect disappointing seasons.
The Rabbitohs come into this week's clash against the Titans in 14th place and despite their efforts last week against Brisbane, another loss meant that their hopes of a Top Eight finish this year are fast disappearing. Their performance against Wayne Bennett's men was certainly promising yet ultimately a lack of execution in attack proved their downfall. However, the Rabbitohs will back themselves against a depleted Titans side who are currently the second worst defensive side in the completion, conceding 27 points a game. Michael McGuire has also had the luxury of naming an unchanged 17 for Friday night's game.
The same cannot be said for the already undermanned Titans, who will be without Jarrod Wallace, Jarryd Hayne, Kane Elgey, Kyle Lawton and Nathan Peats through Origin duties and injury. Despite their bravery, the Gold Coast side find themselves languishing near the bottom of the ladder with the Rabbitohs on ten competition points. Coach Neill Henry will be hoping for an improved performance in defence after his side leaked 34 points in last week's loss to the Warriors. Of particular concern would be the fact that 18 of those points were scored in a short six-minute period before the break. If the Titans can rediscover their resilience in defence it will go a long way to securing victory on Friday night.
Last meeting: Round 13 2016 - Rabbitohs 28 Titans 29
Who to watch: Look out for an inspirational performance from South Sydney skipper Sam Burgess. Burgess held his own against Brisbane's pack last week, running for 151 metres, making 36 tackles, breaking five tackles and scoring a try in an impressive outing. A similar output on Friday night would be a massive boost for the struggling Rabbitohs.
With Chris McQueen named as his surprise halves partner in the absence of Elgey, Ashley Taylor must take further responsibility in attack. The young half has excelled in 2017, leading the competition with a whopping 19 try-assists. With three members of the Gold Coast spine missing this week, the Titans will need even more from their always-improving halfback.
The favourite: Despite their recent poor form, the Rabbitohs are favourites to bounce back against the depleted Titans.
My tip: The Rabbitohs come into this one the more settled side and should account for a gritty Titans outfit. Rabbitohs by 8.
1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Bryson Goodwin 18. Braidon Burns 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Robbie Farah 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Tyrell Fuimaono 12. Angus Crichton 15. Kyle Turner 14. Damien Cook 17. Zane Musgrove 19. Jason Clark 20. Anthony Cherrington
1. William Zillman 19. Phillip Sami 3. Dale Copley 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. John Olive 6. Chris McQueen 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Nathaniel Peteru 9. Pat Politoni 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Leivaha Pulu 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Eddy Pettybourne 17. Max King 22. Paterika Vaivai
Referees: Ashley Klein, Alan Shortall; Sideline Officials: Nick Beashel, Clayton Sharpe; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Steve Chiddy;