Shick Hydro Preview: South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters
In recent years when these two traditional clubs have clashed it has been a precursor to their respective finals campaigns, but that will be the furthest thing from their minds once they run out on to ANZ Stadium come Friday night.
The Roosters are yet to win a game this season and their 0-5 record was kick-started by the Rabbitohs in Round 1 when they were trashed by 32 points.
Coach Trent Robinson is sticking with the same 17 who were downed by the Warriors in golden point last start.
The season-opener was significant for South Sydney too who have been without influential duo Adam Reynolds and John Sutton ever since. This week is all about keeping in touch with the top four.
South Sydney will welcome Bryson Goodwin back into the fold for this one, with Michael Oldfield named on an extended bench.
Watch out Rabbitohs: The main difference between the Rabbitohs of Round 1 and the team named for this fixture is the absence of Adam Reynolds – who had a profound impact in South Sydney's season-opener. His kicking game was of pinpoint accuracy and kept the Roosters without the ball for much of the first half, where most of the damage occurred. How Luke Keary and Cody Walker combine without him is crucial.
Watch out Roosters: Much has been said about five-day turnarounds of late and it's exactly the predicament the Roosters will face on Friday. Following their 82-minute golden point thriller against the Warriors the Roosters will have to compose themselves quick smart if they're any chance of securing their maiden win for 2016.
Key Match-Up: Greg Inglis v Latrell Mitchell – The Rabbitohs came up against the Sea Eagles last start and began proceedings like a team possessed. Up by 16 in as many minutes South Sydney failed to score another point the entire game. In some aspects it's up to skipper Greg Inglis to fire, something he is yet to do consistently this year. He'll come up against the man who has earned Inglis-esque comparisons Latrell Mitchell. The Taree junior has been a shining light for the Roosters in an otherwise ordinary campaign so far.
The History: Played 213; Rabbitohs 112, Roosters 96, Drawn 5. History suggests both teams get at least one win over the other in a season. It's been the case since 2011. In saying this South Sydney has won three of their past four against the Roosters including their huge Round 1 win.
What are the Odds: There’s actually more investment on the Roosters in head to head betting with Sportsbet punters snapping up the $3.15 that was on offer before they narrowly went down to the Warriors. It’s all the Rabbitohs in margin betting, with South Sydney 13-plus the most popular option by a long way. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au
Match Officials: Referee: Ben Cummins. Assistant Referee: Henry Perenara. Sideline Officials: Michael Wise and Adam Reid.
Televised: Channel 9 – Live coverage from 7:30pm; Fox Sports 1 – Live coverage from 7:00pm
The way we see it: It would take a brave individual to pick the Roosters. While three of the Roosters' past four losses have been by four points or less, such defeats came against Canberra, Manly and the Sea Eagles. South Sydney has proven to be much tougher prospects than most already and smart money says they win. Rabbitohs by 8.