Both the Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs will be aiming to make it two wins from two when they clash in NRL Round 2 action on Friday night.
Broncos vs Rabbitohs kicks off at 8.05pm AEDT at Suncorp Stadium. The NRL game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports in Australia.
Brisbane and South Sydney each held off fast-finishing sides to emerge triumphant in Round 1 – who keeps their unbeaten start to the season going on Friday night?
These two sides have developed a bitter rivalry over the last 12 months or so after coaches Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold swapped clubs.
It was Bennett who had the last laugh in 2019, with his Rabbitohs side beating the Broncos twice, including a 38-6 thumping at ANZ Stadium in Round 9.
With the addition of Latrell Mitchell, the Rabbitohs have got to be considered among the top four favourites for the premiership in 2020, but they were very rusty against Cronulla last weekend, prevailing 22-18 after surviving a late onslaught on their own line.
Meanwhile, Brisbane were extremely impressive against the Cowboys in Townsville, especially through the middle of the field with their star young forwards.
However, they will be without Tevita Pangai for this game after he picked up a four-week suspension. In saying that, the Broncos still have Payne Haas and David Fifita – who was absolutely immense last week – to fall back on.
Brisbane won’t have the home crowd to rely on at Suncorp, with all games for the foreseeable future played behind closed doors, but I still think they have the slight edge heading into this one.
Souths didn’t respect the ball last week and made many cheap errors, especially when the game got tight. Brisbane have the class and barnstorming young forwards to make them pay if they do it again.
Pangai’s four-week suspension means Jamil Hopoate moves into the starting side in just his second NRL game, with his place on the bench taken by Ethan Bullemor, with the 20-year-old prop to make his own NRL debut.
Alex Glenn is still injured, meaning Brodie Croft and Pat Carrigan are co-captains again.
Bennett has named the same 17 Souths players who got the job done against Cronulla.
Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Jamil Hopoate 13. Patty Carrigan 14. Herbie Farnworth 15. Andrew McCullough 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Ethan Bullemor 18. Xavier Coates 19. Tesi Niu 20. Tom Dearden 21. Pride Petterson-Robati
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Cameron Murray 13. Liam Knight 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Hame Sele 17. Alex Johnston 18. Bryson Goodwin 19. Bayley Sironen 20. Troy Dargan 21. Keaon Koloamatangi
– Rabbitohs won both of their meetings in 2019
– Broncos had won the last seven before that
– Their last seven games have totalled at least 40 points