Greg Inglis is a key man in Rabbitohs backline. Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
The only two remaining foundation clubs in the NRL meet at ANZ Stadium in Monday night football this week, with the Rabbitohs taking on the Roosters . Both clubs will have been disappointed to miss out on the top eight last season- the Rabbitohs finished tenth and the Roosters eleventh – and will be looking to make a winning start to the new campaign.
After being decimated by injury for much of 2011, the Rabbitohs are only missing hooker Isaac Luke from their full strength forward pack with Sam Burgess and Roy Asotasi set to lead the way. With halfback Chris Sandow having joined Parramatta, youngster Adam Reynolds will make his NRL debut in the number seven jersey.
The Roosters are without centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall through injury but will go into this match buoyed by strong pre-season form that saw them defeat the Bulldogs and Tigers in trial matches.
History – These teams have met on 203 occasions, with Souths holding a 106-92 advantage, although the Roosters have won three of their past four clashes. Six games at ANZ Stadium have produced just two wins for the Rabbitohs, although one of them came in round nineteen last season when they secured a 21-20 golden point win.
Dangermen – Nathan Merritt was the leading tryscorer in the competition last year and has a terrific record. He will capitalise if given any space. Matt King was a prolific scorer for Melbourne Storm before joining Warrington in the Super League and will pose a threat to the Roosters defence.
Without Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the Roosters undoubtedly lack a bit of firepower out wide but Joseph Leilua will keep Souths’ defence on their toes. He crossed the line for the Roosters first in four of their last nine matches at the end of the last campaign.
Prediction – Souths have one of the best forward packs in the competition and enough strike power out wide to worry the Roosters. They should be too good. Rabbitohs 1-12
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