Tigers Cubs To Step Up

Luke Brooks West Tigers
Luke Brooks must take control for the Tigers to beat the Bunnies. Image courtesy of: Source: News Corp

South Sydney Rabbitohs  v Wests Tigers 
ANZ Stadium
Friday June 13 – 7:50 PM (AEST)

Tigers: LLWLW

Friday night is round 2 between these two clubs. The Tigers  caused a massive upset in Round 3, beating the Rabbitohs  25-16. Both teams will be without their Origin stars, but the return of James Tedesco from injury last week proved how much they need the young custodian.

The Tigers are one of the best clubs for developing young talent. Just look at their current roster. There are a host of future representative players, all local Balmain or Wests juniors. Luke Brooks is a future Origin halfback. James Tedesco and Curtis Sironen would not look out of place in a sky blue jersey. Tim Simona and Martin Taupau will most likely play for the Kiwis in the Four Nations at the end of the season. Add in the sprinkle of current representative players and things are looking bright in Tiger Town. With Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods away on Origin duty, coach Mick Potter has had to make some changes to the side which beat the Newcastle Knights 23-20 on Sunday afternoon. Joel Luani slots into hooker and Marty Taupau starts up front. Sironen is in the back row for Liam Fulton (concussion), with Dene Halatau making his return to the Tigers since leaving the club in 2009. Ava Seumanufagai, Sitaleki Akauola and Keith Lulia join an extended bench.

The Bunnies are back. After stringing together three wins in a row, Souths have finally returned to the form which saw them get to within one game of the Grand Final two years in a row. But once again, the timing of Origin puts a spanner in the works. The exclusion of trio Greg Inglis, Ben Te’o and Chris McQueen, who are up in Queensland preparing for Origin 2, is a massive inconvenience for coach Michael Maguire. Sam Burgess shifts into the second row to cover for Te’o, with Ben Lowe starting at lock. Nathan Merritt starts at fullback for Inglis and Joe Picker joins the bench for McQueen. A broken thumb has sidelined future superstar Dylan Walker for six weeks, with Bryson Goodwin shifting to the centres and Alex Johnston jumping on the wing to cover Walker.

The NRL is unpredictable this season. Teams who everyone thought would struggle to put wins together are sitting comfortably in the top 8, while the usual powerhouses can’t seem to find their feet. With both teams minus their stars, it could go either way, but the return of Issac Luke should give the Rabbits an edge.

LIVE on Channel 9

View Full NRL Markets