The goal is obvious for the Aquis Titans in today’s round 13 clash against South Sydney – to curb the go-forward of the Rabbitohs’ big powerful pack that is the cornerstone of their success in recent years.
The Titans will have to do it without prop David Shillington who suffered a pectoral injury near the end of probably his best performance of the season against Sydney Roosters.
‘Shillo’ did not make the trip to Perth and his place in the 17 will be taken one of three former Rabbitohs, Eddy Pettybourne. He will join Chris McQueen, who has had six previous trips to Perth with Souths, and Nathan Peats against former teammates.
Souths have an enviable record in Perth, having won six of their eight clashes there in the past decade.
In the past three seasons they have scored 30 points or more against a Warriors side that included Titans co-captain Nathan Friend so the task ahead is obvious for our boys, although they are not daunted and have created a close, positive attitude towards a two-match, nine-day trip that could give them tremendous momentum going into the second half of the season.
“Souths have a big, strong pack who can get the upper hand when they roll down the field, that’s no secret to anyone,” said Titans coach Neil Henry.
“We have to counter that, which will hopefully restrict the opportunities for Greg Inglis on the left and Adam Reynolds on their right, who both played in Origin I.
“Even with George Burgess out with a groin injury, they still have plenty of size and power in the forwards in Sam Burgess, Nathan Brown and Tom Burgess who all have dangerous offloads.
“But our pack has been in good form and are ready for the challenge.”
The clash marks the 250th NRL appearance for prop Luke Douglas since making his debut in 2007 for the Sharks. In that time, he has never missed a game with injury and holds the all-time record of 216 successive appearances before accepting the ASADA penalty in late 2014 which saw him miss the last three games of the season.
Since then the only match he has missed was round one this year due to a one-match suspension for a high tackle in our trial match against the Rabbitohs in February.
Titans (10th) v Rabbitohs (9th) @ nib Stadium, 4.30pm WA, 6.30pm Qld.
Referees: Grant Atkins and Alan Shortall
TV/Radio: Fox Sports, ABC and Triple M
HEAD TO HEAD
Played 13: Titans 5 wins, Rabbitohs 8.
At nib Stadium: None.
Completions: Titans 78%, Rabbitohs 77%
Tries scored: Titans 37, Rabbitohs 43
Tries conceded: Titans 43, Rabbitohs 44
Goalkicking: Titans 90%, Rabbitohs 72%
Past 6 results:
2015 – Rabbitohs 22-16 at Cbus Super Stadium
2014 – Titans 14-10 at ANZ Stadium, Rabbitohs 40-18 at Cbus Super Stadium
2013 – Rabbitohs 32-4 at Skilled Stadium
2012 – Rabbitohs 22-18 at Skilled Park
TITANS: Zillman (capt), Don, Hoffman, Davis, Macdonald, Roberts, Taylor, Douglas, Friend (capt), James, Taia, McQueen, Bird. Interchange: Peats, Pulu, Paasi, Pettybourne, Hurrell.
RABBITOHS: Walker, Johnston, Auva’a, Goodwin, Nielsen, Inglis (capt), T Burgess, McInness, Brown, Carter, Turner, Burgess. Interchange: Keary, Clark, Gosiewski, Tyrell.