The key match-ups in Friday night’s Souths-Roosters blockbuster. Source: DailyTelegraph
RARELY has a rugby league game thrown up as many blockbuster one-on-one showdowns.
When the Rabbitohs go into battle against their old adversaries at ANZ Stadium Friday night, much more is at stake than the minor premiership.
Representative jerseys, personal pride and confidence for the finals are all at stake.
It will be intense and personal.
WE can only hope Sonny Bill is right to play because his clash with Sam Burgess is potentially the highlight of the season.
These two are arguably the best forwards in the world.
Burgess is rated by many as the best Englishman to play in the competition, a massive wrap considering Mal Reilly, Tommy Bishop, Rogers Millward, Cliff Watson and Ellery Hanley played before him.
Likewise, Sonny Bill is probably more talented than any Kiwi we’ve seen.
Sonny Bill is probably the best all-round athlete in the game. A genuine gamebreaker with deadly offloads and beautiful footwork.
He has 53 offloads to Burgess’ 17.
Burgess’ strength is his phenomenal workrate and aggression. He averages 140 metres to SBW’s 100.
He flattened Sonny Bill in the opening round of the competition with one ferocious charge (video below).
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GREG Inglis and Anthony Minichiello are both previous winners of the global golden boot award.
Minichiello’s strengths are his big-game experience that comes from 13 seasons of NRL football and rep honours for NSW and the Kangaroos.
He absolutely thrives under pressure and is one of the busiest fullbacks in the competition who handles the football an average of 30 times a game.
Inglis’ strength is his power and pace, many rating him the most devastating attacking player in the history of the game.
A lot of his key statistics are twice as good as Minichiello’s. Inglis has made 105 tackle busts this year to Minichiello’s 51 – and he’s even played three less games.
He’s scored 13 tries to Minichiello’s six and averages a phenomenal 150 metres per game.
The only question mark is his fitness and the knee injury he has been carrying since Origin.
THE clash between Mitchell Pearce and Adam Reynolds could decide the game, the minor premiership – and who gets the NSW No. 7 jersey next year.
Certainly coach Laurie Daley will be watching from his north shore lounge room with keen interest.
Reynolds has by far the better kicking game. He has forced 23 line dropouts this year compared to Pearce’s seven.
He has also got two 40/20s while Pearce has yet to get one.
Pearce has the better passing game and twice as many linebreak assists but is desperately missing Boyd Cordner’s right-side running game.
His last two appearances against the Titans and Sharks have been poor.
Adam Reynolds feeling more relaxed on big stage
Steve Hart previews the key positional battles in Friday night’s blockbuster between South Sydney and the Roosters.
Apart from being great players, James Maloney and John Sutton are almost the exact opposites.
Maloney plays at 83kg, Sutton at 105kg.
Sutton has used his size and strength advantage to average more than 100 running metres a game and 61 tackle busts, almost double what Maloney has done.
At the same time Maloney has 20 try assists to Sutton’s 10.
Maloney’s weakness is that he averages 3.5 missed tackles per game and got caught out in Origin. He also makes three times as many errors as Sutton.
George Burgess and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are the standout front rowers this season, along with Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita.
Both will play about 50 minutes of the game as the head enforcers.
No one in the game can break a tackle like Burgess, who has made an incredible 92 tackle bust this year. His opponent has made just 19.
Hargreaves’ strength is in other areas. He can hit the line with tremendous force and has made 26 offloads this season, three times as many as Burgess.
He also makes 20 per cent more tackles and less errors than the English front rower.