Roosters v Rabbitohs: Kennar returns; Roosters unchanged
It's one of rugby league's oldest rivalries and they often bring out the best in each other.
The new-look Roosters (3-2) have been hot and cold over their first five games but they were all business in last week's convincing 28-10 road win over the Sharks and will be confident of overcoming a Rabbitohs team struggling with their own consistency issues.
Souths (2-3) were out-played for 70-plus minutes by the Dragons and never really looked like scoring a try. They hung in there and pinched a couple in the closing stages to make the score respectable, but the Bunnies need to work on the attacking creativity if they want to trouble the Chooks.
The key match-up: Luke Keary and his old South Sydney teammate Adam Reynolds will go head-to-head. Keary also has a point to prove as he faces his old club where he started his NRL career in 2013 and spent the next four years before converting to the Roosters in 2017, while Reynolds is in his second game back from injury at the Rabbitohs and has young playmaker Adam Doueihi putting on pressure with some impressive performances early in the season.
For the Roosters to win: It's clear the Roosters are starting to find their form after an impressive round-five display in which they produced their best completion rate of the season so far, resulting in a 28-10 win over the Sharks.
For the Rabbitohs to win: It was a lack of execution in attack that costs Souths dearly in their 16-12 loss to the Dragons in round five. To have any shot against the Roosters they will need to capitalise on their opportunities when they do have the ball in hand.
Roosters Stat Attack: The Rabbitohs may be based nearby by the Roosters have made the most of their home ground advantage in this fixture lately, unbeaten against South Sydney at Allianz Stadium since 2013.
Rabbitohs Stat Attack: They may technically be sitting in the bottom half of the ladder but the Rabbitohs are excelling in a number of statistical categories after five rounds, leading the league for run metres (8243), tackle breaks (184), kick return metres (916), dummy-half runs (78) and decoy runs (311).
And another thing: The Roosters will be aiming to achieve their 100th victory over South Sydney in Thursday night's local derby at Allianz Stadium.
Prediction: Rabbitohs by 8.
Match: Roosters vs Rabbitohs
Venue: Allianz Stadium
- Nine Network
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs, 7.50pm Thursday at Allianz Stadium
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Reece Robinson, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange: 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Victor Radley, 18 Nat Butcher
Moments before kick-off Sio Siua Taukeiaho was ruled out with injury. Jared Waerea-Heagreaves was moved into the starting side with Nat Butcher the new man on the bench. Kurt Baptiste was dropped from the bench an hour before kick-off. The Roosters are unchanged following their big win over Cronulla last week. Mitchell Cornish and Frank-Paul Nuuausala were the two players dropped from the bench 24 hours out from kick-off.
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Greg Inglis (c), 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 16 Jason Clark
Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Mark Nicholls, 17 Tevita Tatola, 21 Kyle Turner
Hymel Hunt and Campbell Graham were the two players dropped from the squad an hour out from kick-off. Jason Clark will start at lock after Cameron Murray was ruled out with a hamstring injury. The Rabbitohs welcome back winger Richie Kennar after a two-week absence due to a hamstring injury, pushing Dane Gagai back to centre and Hymel Hunt to the reserves. Murray and Robbie Farah were the two players dropped from the bench 24 hours before the start of the match.
Head-to-head: Played 216, Rabbitohs 112 wins, Roosters 99 wins, 5 draws
Matches at venue: Played 37, Roosters 24 wins, Rabbitohs 13 wins
2017 results: Roosters won 20-6 at ANZ Stadium in round 4 and 14-12 at Allianz Stadium in round 18
Points per game: Roosters 22 (5th); Rabbitohs 20 (8th)
Points conceded per game: Rooster 14 (6th); Rabbitohs 17.6 (8th)
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League