The second Sunday afternoon showdown is one of the best matches of Round 12, as the Rabbitohs host the soaring Panthers at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Penrith have moved their way up into the second spot on the ladder over the last couple of months winning six of their past seven, including their 31 – 16 victory ahead of the Bulldogs last week.
Although the Panthers are in-form and have plenty of confidence at the moment, their finals record is a poor one and the pressure to stay in the top four could eventually take its toll. Also, the level of competition they have won against recently hasn’t been the most imposing, and so facing the Bunnies in South Sydney is a big task.
The Rabbitohs are currently in the number five position, coming off a close 26 – 24 loss to the Warriors in New Zealand last week.
On Sunday South Sydney has the home ground advantage, but are still the $1.97 underdogs with Ladbrokes.com.au. The bookies, however, are admitting that this one is a tough game to pick as the Panthers are currently at $1.85 for a win.
Penrith have three players backing up from Origin with Civoniceva, Waterhouse and Lewis while David Taylor was the only Bunny to play in Origin one. So in this regard South Sydney has the advantage as Penrith rely heavily on the fitness of their skipper Civoniceva.
Although the Panthers are ahead of the Bunnies overall for the season to date, we are going to go against the favourites again here and pick the Rabbitohs. South Sydney are starting to look very dangerous, they have a big forward pack that are beginning to fire up and play more physical and methodical footy.
The Bunnies will also be glad to have captain Roy Asotasi back from injury to help them on Sunday.
Will this be enough to trounce the Panthers who boast talent like Michael Jennings and Gordon on the right, and who many say are a good chance to win their first premiership since 2003? If they can step up in defence, then we think yes!
Current Head-to-Head Odds: Rabbitohs $1.97 – Panthers $1.85 Ladbrokes.com.au
Round 12 Rabbitohs Team:
1. Rhys Wesser 2. Nathan Merritt 3. Colin Best 4. Beau Champion 5. Fetuli Talanoa 6. John Sutton 7. Chris Sandow 8. Luke Stuart 9. Issac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi (c) 11. Sam Burgess 12. Dave Taylor 13. Ben Lowe
Bench: Scott Geddes 15. Shannon McPherson 16. Eddy Pettybourne 17. Michael Crocker
Reserves: 18. Jason Clark 19. Garrett Crossman
Round 12 Panthers Team:
1. Lachlan Coote 2. Michael Gordon 3. Michael Jennings 4. Adrian Purtell 5. Shane Elford 6. Travis Burns 7. Luke Walsh 8. Tim Grant 9. Kevin Kingston 10. Petero Civoniceva (c) 11. Trent Waterhouse 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Luke Lewis
Bench: 14. Masada Iosefa 15. Nathan Smith 16. Matthew Bell 17. Sam McKendry
Reserves: 18. Wade Graham 19. Gavin Cooper 20. Frank Puletua