NRL Round 15: Tigers v Rabbitohs Preview & Betting Tips
The Tigers look at a top eight return when they face a Souths side aiming for a bounce back into form to kickoff round 15
Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs – Bankwest Stadium 7:50pm
Benji Marshall breaking Cowboys hearts again? It might be 2019 but the beloved Tigers five-eighth made it feel like 2005 with his lead role in his team’s 27-26 golden point win over the Cowboys. After running up an imposing 18-0 scoreline the Tigers found themselves swamped by a Jason Taumalolo-inspired tidal wave to find themselves having to fight back into the contest and Michael Chee Kam’s penalty try was enough to squeeze into golden point and the eventual priceless win.
Ryan Matterson continues to be one of the best recruits this year and the backrower couldn’t be any closer to an Origin debut. Matterson has been a revelation for a Tigers pack who have lacked creativity in their recent campaigns. Matterson’s frame alone poses an attacking threat but it’s his ability to take pressure off Marshall and Luke Brooks which is serving Wests so well.
Coach Michael Maguire still hasn’t quite landed on his preferred backline – Moses Mbye continues to be experimented with as a centre – but the Tigers still have strike weapons in Corey Thompson – now at fullback – and Robert Jennings – back to his preferred wing – to convert chances into points.
There has been external disruption however in the forwards. Rumours persist the Tigers are looking to offload Russell Packer and Elijah Taylor to any interested club and a mid-season transfer of veteran Eels prop Tim Mannah collapsed.
There’s never an ideal time to face the Bunnies but this week isn’t the worst timing – the Bunnies might be welcoming back some key players but they have lost three straight. With a logjam forming for positions seven and eight on the ladder, the Tigers can inch closer to the front by adding to Souths’ recent woes.
The Bunnies’ 19-18 loss to Penrith was one which got away – even missing a raft of first choice players, Souths had enough opportunities to seal the game. Instead Cody Walker’s late field goal miss gave the Panthers and James Maloney the chance for their own one pointer, which was nailed and condemned Souths to three straight defeats.
Change may be on the way however with their infamous injury toll starting to subside. Adam Reynold returns from his back issues, Braidon Burns is a welcome returnee for a backline which has been gutted while Burgess boys George and Sam – the latter on the extended bench – will add their trademark steel to the pack.
Souths also were relieved to see Origin players Damien Cook, Cam Murray and Dane Gagai emerge unscathed and suddenly for the first time in many weeks the Rabbitohs are naming a squad resembling a full-strength lineup. Wayne Bennett has seen it all and wouldn’t be alarmed at his side’s recent losing streak – the Bunnies will be out to remind the competition they’re still a team to beat.
Key stats: Souths defeated Wests 32-16 four weeks ago. They’ve also won three of the last four head to heads. Souths’ last five wins over the Tigers have all come from the Bunnies leading at halftime, and their last eight wins against Wests have all been 13+. The Tigers have lost their two Bankwest Stadium matches by a combined score of 79-6.
Best bet: Rabbitohs -6.5 - $2*Value bet: Rabbitohs halftime/fulltime - $2.10*