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South Sydney Rabbitohs vs New Zealand Warriors: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park, Friday 18th August, 6pm AEST.


At this time of year, there are always fixtures that have little impact on the standings or the finals places. This dead rubber certainly fits in that category. It does, however,  have some intriguing subplots and plenty of meaning for the players and coaches who are fighting for their future.

The Bunnies’ form has picked up in recent weeks, with wins over the Bulldogs and Dragons providing some much-needed relief from a disappointing campaign. Meanwhile, the Warriors may well be playing for the future of coach Stephen Kearney.

Kearney could be facing the axe off the back of an injury to star half-back Shaun Johnson. The Warriors’ season has been done and dusted ever since Johnson was forced from the pitch against Penrith. Since that loss to the Panthers, the Warriors have fallen to defeat four more times, to extend their poor run of results to six games.

Recent Meetings

2016 – Rd 23 South Sydney 41 def. New Zealand 22 at Mt Smart Stadium

2015 – Rd 13 South Sydney 36 def. New Zealand 4 at Perth Oval

2014 – Rd 13 South Sydney 34 def. New Zealand 18 at Perth Oval

2013 – Rd 17 South Sydney 30 def. New Zealand 13 at Perth Oval

2013 – Rd 5 South Sydney 24 def. New Zealand 22 at Mt Smart Stadium

This season, and in particular the last couple of months, haven’t made easy watching for the Warriors and their recent history against the Bunnies won’t give them any more confidence.

South Sydney have won the last five meetings between the sides, including a couple of high-scoring humblings in the last two years. On current form, the Warriors could be in for another hiding.

Selected Teams

Alex Johnston11Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Bryson Goodwin22David Fusitua
Aaron Gray33Blake Ayshford
Tyrell Fuimaono44Solomone Kata
Campbell Graham55Ken Maumalo
Cody Walker66Kieran Foran
Adam Reynolds77Ata Hingano
Thomas Burgess88Jacob Lillyman
Damien Cook99Nathaniel Roache
Sam Burgess1010Sam Lisone
John Sutton1111Bunty Afoa
Angus Crichton1212Ryan Hoffman
Cameron Murray1313Simon Mannering
Robbie Farah1414Isaac Luke
George Burgess1515Tevita Satae
Kyle Turner1616Isaiah Papali’i
Zane Musgrove1717Charlie Gubb
Jack Gosiewski1818Mason Lino
Robert Jennings1920Toafofoa Sipley
David Tyrrell2021James Bell
Luke Kelly2122Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

The Facts That Matter

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Michael Maguire appears set to continue as the second hooker on the bench with Robbie Farah named in the number 14 jersey. The former Tigers man is reportedly not a popular figure among players and has caused too much disruption on the field when he has been sent on.

It is impossible to deny the improvement in the Bunnies’ attack when Damien Cook is on the park and getting himself involved at dummy-half, where he starts again this week.


Young winger Campbell Graham has been a breath of fresh air in a back-line that, Alex Johnston aside, has looked a little stilted while Bryson Goodwin remains a try-scoring threat each week.

The squad has minor changes from last week’s good win against the Bulldogs, with Angus Crichton returning to the back row and Sam Burgess joining brother Tom as the starting front-rowers.

South Sydney have been much improved over the last two weeks, and will back themselves to have enough class and consistency to overcome the Warriors at the ANZ Stadium.

Johnston is a genuine attacking weapon and with the creativity coming from Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds in the halves, he’s got a good chance of adding one or two tries to his 2017 tally on Friday.

New Zealand Warriors

It’s practically impossible to get excited for the Warriors as their 2017 campaign dwindles to a disappointing and, frankly, unacceptable end.

With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback, Kieran Foran and Johnson in the halves and Isaac Luke at hooker, things looked bright at the start of the year. But Johnson is sitting on the sideline and Luke has been benched for looking disinterested, while Foran and Tuivasa-Sheck have been way off their best.


From last week’s 36-16 loss at home to the Raiders, Kearney has dumped Mason Lino to the reserves and thrown in Ata Hingano at half-back alongside Foran, who returns from a short-term shoulder injury.

Ben Matulino misses out through suspension and is replaced by Sam Lisone with Charlie Gubb coming on to the bench.

You would hope that the Warriors might be able to lift their game for Jacob Lillyman’s 250th NRL game, but right now that looks about as likely as a snowman opening up a Korean BBQ joint in Hawaii.


Rabbitohs by over 13.

Don’t blame me for not putting anymore effort in to the prediction, I’m simply reflecting the Warriors’ efforts over the last few weeks.

Can the Warriors cause an upset and win this one, or will the Bunnies be too good? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

  1. Poll: Can the Warriors cause an upset and win this one, or will the Bunnies be too good?

    1. South Sydney Rabbitohs
    2. New Zealand Warriors
    22 votes
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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

  • Kieran Gibson

    Hahaha love the prediction, perfect!

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs New Zealand Warriors: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

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