The South Sydney Rabbitohs are seeking a bounce=back win over the Sydney Roosters on Friday.
With only two weeks left in the regular season, it’s all hands on deck as the Rabbitohs and Roosters try to secure top four spots.
South Sydney needs to rebound after losing to Penrith last week, but it won’t be easy against the in-form Sydney Roosters.
The online sportsbook has the Rabbitohs as -400 favorites to secure their top-four spot.
What Happened Last Week?
The South Sydney Rabbitohs were looking good to beat the Penrith Panthers after going up 12-0 early, but what happened from there wasn’t good.
The end result was a 25-12 loss, and the Rabbitohs either appeared out of ideas or out of breath. It was a poor second-half showing from a team looking to win the minor premiership, so they’ll need to bounce back against the Roosters.
Josh Mansour also suffered a season-ending knee injury, which doesn’t help. However, the Roosters are one of most injury-ravaged teams in the NRL.
“He (Josh) has done his knee – I’m not too sure how bad it is but I don’t think he will play any part with us this season, which is unfortunate,” captain Adam Reynolds told Fox Sports.
“I thought he started the game excellently, and he is a key member for our squad, so it’s disappointing.”
— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) August 23, 2021
There are capable players to fill the position, including Jaxson Paulo and Taane Milne, but they lack the finals experience of Mansour.
“Both those guys have spent a bit of time with us and done a good job,” Reynolds continued. “So, whichever way Wayne (Bennett) wants to go with, they will fit into that spot nicely.”
South Sydney has shown an ability to rebound from losing to Penrith. They lost 56-12 in Round 11 and hadn’t lost a game since. Securing a spot in the top four is vital and they are in a position to make a push for a top-two spot if Penrith finds trouble.
NRL betting markets expect the Rabbitohs to hit back. They are -400 to win the game outright at Suncorp Stadium.
Roosters Heading in Right Direction
The Roosters have lost two of their last eight games, but those losses came to the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers.
Despite a slew of injuries, including season and career-ending injuries to their senior players, Sydney has shown its class and moved into the top four.
READY, TEDDY, GO! Despite all the injuries, the Sydney Roosters have surged back into the top four, via @JoelGould6.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) August 22, 2021
They could have easily slipped outside the top eight, but the Roosters are a formidable side that could push the Rabbitohs close on Friday. However, they sustained more injuries in the 40-22 win over St George last weekend.
Adam Keighran and Nat Butcher are likely to be missing. Keighran, who kicks goals for the Roosters, suffered a head knock and Butcher left the field with a knee injury.
Sydney has an 11½-point head start with which to work. It’s capable of covering the spread, but the injuries don’t help, and the Rabbitohs can pile on the points quickly.
When They Last Met
The Rabbitohs and Roosters played in Round Three, when the Rabbitohs came away with a 26-16 victory.
Cody Walker opened up the scoring in the seventh minute and they never looked back. The Rabbits opened a 24-0 lead before the Roosters scored two late tries to bridge the gap to 10 points.
It was a one-sided win, but it was another example of the Rabbitohs not playing to the final whistle. That is something they need to iron out before the finals kick off in two weeks.
Roosters vs Rabbitohs Pick
We feel comfortable about the South Sydney Rabbitohs winning the game, but the big question lingers about the spread.
The current line of 11½ points could move to around 12½ on game day, and we think the Rabbitohs are set for a bounce-back victory at the expense of the Roosters.
It requires a full 80-minute performance, but coach Wayne Bennett would have drilled that into his players throughout the week.