Friday, 27 June 2008
: North Queensland Cowboys vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Where: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
When: 7.30pm, Saturday 28th June 2008
Sportingbet Odds: Cowboys ($2.30) Rabbitohs ($1.62)
Line Option: Cowboys +4.0 ($1.91)
Referee: Tony De Las Heras
At half time of last Saturday night's game at a freezing Olympic Park against Melbourne was an excellent one, they still trailed at the end of forty minutes despite throwing every trick they could at the reigning premiers. After half time, the Storm moved into gear, the Cowboys ran out of steam, and were soundly trounced, with the Storm eventually covering a start of 20.5 points, which looked exceedingly unlikely at half time.
Having been relegated to the bottom of the NRL table following South Sydney's win, the Cowboys will attempt to get back onto the winners list, and out of last position, without two-time Dally M Medal winning half back Jonathan Thurston, who is Origin-tied with Queensland, while local-boy Jacob Lillyman will require surgery on an shoulder.
Lillyman, who will join the growing brigade of Queenslanders at the New Zealand Warriors next season, has now played his final game for his home club, with the shoulder injury forcing him out of the side for the restoof the season.
Joining Lillyman on the sidelines is the luckless Chris Sheppard, who failed a fitness test on a hamstring and has been ruled out of Saturday night's game. He has been replaced at half back by Anthony Watts, with teenager rookie Sam Bowie coming into the side at full back.
Ben Farrar, a player much has been expected of in Townsville, has been dropped in favour of Under-20's player Brandon Boor, while another first-year player, Nick Slyney, resumes in the top grade after two matches for the Cowboys a few weeks ago. Steve Southern (shoulder) resumes after injury, though he did have to pass a late fitness test in order to play.
Cowboys: Anthony Watts, Mark Henry, Ashley Graham, Ben Harris, John Williams, Sione Faumuina, Chris Sheppard, Ray Cashmere, Aaron Payne (capt), Carl Webb, Nick Slyney, Scott Bolton, Steve Southern. Interchange: Brandon Boor, Ben Vaeau, Greg Byrnes, Shane Tronc
Having endured plenty of lows throughout 2008, last Monday night was all good for the Rabbitohs, who outlasted a tired Titans outfit, who nearly held-off the home side despite being out on their feet. The game was one that has seemed to go against Souths so far in 2008, however perhaps last Monday night's win was the start of a resurgence of the Rabbitohs, though they have left it late to make a run for the finals!
Further to a win that lifted off the bottom of the table, Souths will welcome back Craig Wing, who has played just ten minutes of football in his return to South Sydney. While recruited as the half back, Wing will start at five-eighth, with Chris Sandow's form too good to risk removing the rookie from the number shirt. Wing's return forces John Sutton to lock the scrum, while Ben Lowe has been demoted to stand-by, along with Shannon Hegerty and Michael Greenfield.
Rabbitohs: Luke Capewell, Nathan Merritt, Jamie Simpson, Beau Champion, Fetuli Talanoa, Craig Wing, Chris Sandow, Scott Geddes, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi (capt), Luke Stuart, David Faalogo, John Sutton
Interchange: George Ndaira, Shannan McPherson, David Kidwell, Manase Manuokafoa, Ben Lowe, Shannon Hegarty, Michael Greenfield (three to be omitted).
Line Option: North Queensland Cowboys +4.0 ($1.91)
Even though they are out of form, out of luck and down several stars, any start on the line against the fifteenth placed team in the competition is worth taking.
Despite the Cowboys owning the home advantage, the Rabbitohs are in form and have a near full strength squad on the field, whereas the Cowboys have several of their better players missing.
Backing Souths is still a dicey option as they haven't overly proven themselves, however they do have the momentum in their favour, and remain decent value at $1.62.
Racing and Sports tip: South Sydney Rabbitohs