Rugby League

2015 NRL Season Opener – Broncos vs Rabbitohs

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The 2015 NRL Season gets underway tonight with the season opening clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium.

The Broncos have lost their position as NRL heavyweights in the past five years, but there is plenty of optimism about their chances in 2015 due to the return of master coach Wayne Bennett, while South Sydney will be taking almost unprecedented confidence into this game after they won the NRL Nines and beat St Helens 39-0 in the World Club Challenge during the offseason.

Brisbane Broncos

Bennett has wasted no time stamping his own mark on this Brisbane Broncos side and he has made a number of changes to the squad that snuck into the finals in 2014. Talented youngster Jordan Kahu has won the hotly-contested fullback role, but will share time in the position with captain Justin Hodges. Representative player Matt Gillett has been dropped to the bench in favor of Alex Glenn, while new recruit Adam Blair will start in the front row with Josh McGuire and Anthony Milford will partner Ben Hunt in the halves.

  • 1 Jordan Kahu
  • 2 Dale Copley
  • 3 Jack Reed
  • 4 Justin Hodges (c)
  • 5 Lachlan Maranta
  • 6 Anthony Milford
  • 7 Ben Hunt
  • 8 Josh McGuire
  • 9 Andrew McCullough
  • 10 Adam Blair
  • 11 Alex Glenn
  • 12 Sam Thaiday
  • 13 Corey Parker

Interchange

  • 14 Mitchell Dodds
  • 15 James Gavet
  • 16 Matt Gillett
  • 17 Aaron Whitchurch
  • 18 Kodi Nikorima
  • Coach: Wayne Bennett

South Sydney Rabbitohs

South Sydney have lost inspiration forward Sam Burgess for 2015, but their starting 17 is still one of the most impressive in the entire competition. Manly recruit Glenn Stewart will take Burgess’ place in the forward pack and looms as a key player in the Rabbitohs title defense. Michael Maguire has stayed loyal to the young halves combination that led his side to the 2014 NRL Premiership and former captain John Sutton will return to the second row, with Ben Lowe at lock. The bolter in the Rabbitohs side is utility forward Chris Grevsmuhl, who has played himself into the side with a string of impressive performances during preseason.

  • 1 Greg Inglis (c)
  • 2 Alex Johnston
  • 3 Dylan Walker
  • 4 Bryson Goodwin
  • 5 Joel Reddy
  • 6 Luke Keary
  • 7 Adam Reynolds
  • 8 George Burgess
  • 9 Issac Luke
  • 10 Dave Tyrrell
  • 11 Glenn Stewart
  • 12 John Sutton
  • 13 Ben Lowe

Interchange

  • 14 Chris Grevsmuhl
  • 15 Jason Clark
  • 16 Chris McQueen
  • 17 Thomas Burgess
  • 18 Tim Grant
  • 19 Cameron McInnes
  • 20 Daryl Millard
  • Coach: Michael Maguire

Brisbane Broncos vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Betting

Click here for all Broncos Vs Rabbitohs markets

There has been plenty of support for South Sydney in the past 48 hours and they have been backed into $1.62 with Ladbrokes after being available at a quote as  long as $1.82 earlier in the week. The Broncos have drifted out to $2.35 and will be giving up a start of four in line betting, while the Over/Under mark has been set at 40.5 points.

Ladbrokes will be offering special Footy Freaks betting marks on every single game during the 2015 NRL season and for this game you can score $3.25 for Greg Inglis to score a try and South Sydney to win or $6.50 for Anthony Milford to score a try and Brisbane to win.

Brisbane Broncos vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Statistics

Overall:

  • Broncos Wins: 21
  • Rabbitohs Wins: 8
  • Draws: 1

Broncos At Home

  • Broncos Wins: 13
  • Rabbitohs Wins: 4

Past Five Meetings

  • 14/8/2014 – Souths 42 Brisbane 16
  • 25/4/2014 – Souths 28 Brisbane 26
  • 3/5/2013 – Souths 26 Brisbane 12
  • 22/6/2012 – Brisbane 26 Souths 12
  • 23/3/2012 – Brisbane 20 Souths 12

Analysis

The NRL has started recent seasons with genuine blockbusters and this game is set to be no exception. Historically the Broncos have an excellent record over the Rabbitohs, but in recent seasons South Sydney have a clear edge and deserve to start this game as favourites.

South Sydney have suffered some key losses to their Premiership winning side, but they have recruited well and the young halves combination of Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary are set to improve in 2015 and can step up to fill the leadership void that has been left by Burgess. Their form in the pre-season has been absolutely flawless and they should be able to get their season off to a winning start.

The Brisbane Broncos have plenty to play for in Corey Parker’s 300th grade and they are sure to be a better side under Bennett’s leadership, but it could be a while before they stamp themselves as genuine finals contenders. The halves pairing of Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford both had break-out seasons in 2014, but they will be facing a different type of expectation in 2015 and they will be key to their sides chances not just against the Rabbitohs tonight, but throughout the entire season. Greg Inglis is the best kick-returner in the NRL and Milford and Hunt’s kicking game must be excellent if their side is going to keep Inglis quite. The Broncos strength is in this forward pack and Bennett is sure to play to this tonight.

Both teams should come into this game with conservative game plans and the Broncos will be in this game for a long way, but class is likely to prevail in the final 20 metres and I am expecting the Rabbitohs to start their season with a comfortable ten point win.

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