We start NRL Sunday in Dubbo, with the struggling Rabbitohs (8th) taking on the rejuvenated Raiders (10th), in a game that pits two sides that have underperformed in general throughout the opening 10 rounds. The Rabbitohs have struggled without Latrell Mitchell and need to win here to keep pace with the top 8 whilst awaiting their star fullback’s return. The Raiders have also suffered plenty of injuries this year, however it is once again their second half performances that have let them down.
In the second game on Sunday, the Sharks head north looking to re-assert themselves as a genuine premiership threat, as they take on the Gold Coast Titans. The Sharks haven’t won consecutive matches since round 5 and appear to be struggling to maintain their highest level. They will be expecting a good showing here, with the Titans being one of the poorer teams this season.
Apex Oval, Sunday 22nd May, 2:00pm (AEST)
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Blake Taaffe 2. Alex Johnston 3. Jaxson Paulo 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Trent Peoples 13. Jai Arrow. INTERCHANGE: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Davvy Moale 16. Siliva Havili 17. Liam Knight. RESERVES: 18. Peter Mamouzelos 19. Isaiah Tass 20. Josh Mansour 21. Shaq Mitchell 22. Dean Hawkins 23. Richard Kennar 24. Hame Sele
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Matt Frawley 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Harawira-Naera. INTERCHANGE: 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Xavier Savage 17. Corey Horsburgh. RESERVES: 18. Adam Elliott 19. Brad Schneider 20. Harry Rushton 21. Adrian Trevilyan 22. James Schiller 23. Emre Guler 24. Trey Mooney
An intriguing matchup in round 11, sees the South Sydney Rabbitohs hosting the Canberra Raiders in Dubbo, a town where the Bunnies are sure to have plenty of fans. These two teams have both struggled throughout the season thus far and will be looking for some much-needed momentum heading into the midpoint of the season.
The Rabbitohs have struggled with errors all year, which has led to them being unable to put 80 minutes of quality football together. This was never more clear than last week, when they led the Warriors 32-6 with 29 minutes to play, only to have the Warriors roar back to within 2 points late in the game. They will be eager to put 80 minutes together this week, against a team notorious for not competing for the full 80 minutes.
The Raiders have been as enigmatic as ever this season, with their best football looking top 8 worthy, and their worst looking as bad as anyone. They have continued their ‘Faiders’ tag, losing several matches from winning positions.
Market wise, the Raiders have failed to lose a game and cover the closing line all season, and I believe that continues here. The Rabbitohs showed last week what they are capable of with the football and should be able to put plenty of points on the board. If they can get out to a decent start, the Raiders likely won’t keep up. The market has overreacted to the Raiders win last week against a tired Sharks team, and Souths are the side for mine.
Rabbitohs 13+ ($2.94 at BlueBet)
Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday 22nd May, 4:05pm (AEST)
Gold Coast Titans
1. Jayden Campbell 2. Corey Thompson 3. Phillip Sami 4. Esan Marsters 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. AJ Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Isaac Liu 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. INTERCHANGE: 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Sam McIntyre. RESERVES: 18. Will Smith 19. Paul Turner 20. Jaimin Jolliffe 21. Brian Kelly 22. Greg Marzhew 23. Patrick Herbert 24. Aaron Booth
1. Lachlan Miller 2. Sione Katoa 3. Connor Tracey 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Cameron McInnes. INTERCHANGE: 14. Aiden Tolman 15. Braydon Trindall 16. Teig Wilton 17. Andrew Fifita. RESERVES: 18. Kade Dykes 19. Thomas Hazelton 20. Luke Metcalf 21. Mawene Hiroti 22. Jayden Berrell 23. Jesse Colquhoun 24. Jonaiah Lualua
The Titans had a massive win last week which could resurrect their season. In a back-and-forth clash against the similarly desperate Dragons, the Titans scraped home in golden point with a win that snapped a 5-game losing streak. It was sheer joy for the players when Jamayne Isaako went over in the corner to seal the win, with the relief evident on the players’ faces.
Compare this to the limp performance last week from the Sharks, and it’s easy to see why there has been a reaction in the markets. The losses of Will Kennedy and Jesse Ramien obviously effected the Sharks last week; however, I believe it was more the effort put in the previous week which led them to a down performance last week. The remarkable 29-10 win over the Warriors In round 9 surely sapped the Sharks players of energy, and that showed last week, where they made 14 errors and missed 35 tackles, both well over their season averages.
I get the sense this week they will be far more energized, particularly with several teams now in the hunt for a top 4 birth.
Statistically, both sides have similar numbers in metres gained statistics in attack, however it is on the defensive side of the ball where the Sharks set themselves apart. I see the Sharks aiming up this week and shutting the Titans down for the most part.
Whilst my numbers are close to market, I lean towards the Sharks getting the cover and an under, however only small stakes in this one. The return of Hynes to halfback to steer the team around is a massive difference and is the key to unlocking the Sharks best in attack.
Sharks 1-12 ($3.05 at Palmerbet)
Under 41.5 ($1.90 at Palmerbet)
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