Barba Back Firing

Source: Mark Evans/News Limited
Is it the return of a powerhouse in Brisbane? Source: Mark Evans/News Limited
Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Suncorp Stadium
Friday April 25 – 8:05 PM (AEST)

Rabbitohs: LLWWL

Friday nights clash is of two teams at either end of the spectrum. On one hand you have the Brisbane Broncos , who delivered a five star performance against the Newcastle Knights last week, showing they have the skill and class to push the big sides. Then you have the South Sydney , who showed heart in there one-point loss to the Bulldogs. But heart alone does not win Premierships, and South Sydney is finding it increasingly difficult to replicate the form of the past two seasons.

The recent form of Ben Barba has been nothing to write about. While he has always had that x-factor to him, those moments have been few and far between as of late. But with probably his best performance of the year last Friday against the Knights, Barba helped the Broncos halt a two game losing streak. With Sam Thaiday still on the sidelines with a calf injury, the Broncos head into Friday’s game unchanged. But with five-eighth Josh Hoffman failing a fitness test on Thursday. He will be given every chance to prove his fitness over the next 24 hours with Zach Strasser or even Lachlan Maranta his likely replacement.

South Sydney is not the dominant force they once were. Losing to both the Raiders and the Tigers, teams who were given no chance of making the top 8 this year, the Rabbits have become a team not many fear anymore. But with Greg Inglis at the back and John Sutton back to five-eighth, you can smell something brewing. The visitors welcome back George Burgess and Ben Te’o to the starting side, pushing Ben Lowe and Joe Picker onto an extended bench with Joel Reddy. Nathan Merritt has been dropped to NSW Cup, with young gun Alex Johnston to make his debut.

At the start of the season this would have been a no brainer, picking South Sydney for the win. But rugby league is a funny game. Look for the Broncos to edge out the visitors at home.

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