NRL Preview: Rabbitohs v Sharks


NRL Preview
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks

Monday, August 22, 7pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Best Bet: South Sydney +7.5 ($1.90)
Other: South Sydney ($3.05)
South Sydney 1-12 ($4.55)

Souths have found a little bit of form over the last few weeks and will be hoping to cause another shock against a Cronulla team still in the fight for the minor premiership.

Selection Notes
Nathan Brown and Cameron McInnes have been added to an extended bench for Souths with Zane Musgrove out. McInnes’ inclusion likely means Damien Cook would shift to halfback if Adam Reynolds is ruled out. Paul Gallen is back for Cronulla with Sosaia Feki ruled out.

Cronulla have won 44 of 84 against South Sydney dating back to 1967 though the Sharks swept them last year including finishing Souths’ attempt to go back-to-back in the finals. Cronulla have won 5 of the last 8 matches but Souths have a 5-1 all-time edge at ANZ Stadium. The last six matches have all failed to break 40 points. Jayson Bukuya has scored in 2 of his last 4 against Souths.

NRL betting odds database

South Sydney sit in 13th position on the ladder with a 6-15 record and the 13th ranked differential. They have found some form the last two weeks with a close loss to Melbourne followed by a dominant win over New Zealand. Souths have dropped all nine matches against Top 8 opposition this year. Cronulla have won just 1 of their last 4 matches and have fallen to second on the ladder with a 16-4-1 record. The Sharks have conceded 30-plus in their last two but over the last six weeks they have the second best attack and defence.

Round 24 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Damien Cook v Michael Ennis. Cook has had two starts for Souths this year and it has been the best the Bunnies have looked since March. He is a dynamic player who allows Souths to play direct. Ennis has been outstanding all year for the Sharks and they will lean on his experience to get out of their mini-rut. He needs to get his pack rolling again.

Stats That Matter
South Sydney are 7-14 ATS with a 12-9 over record while Cronulla are 12-9 ATS with an 11-10 under number. Souths have covered their last two while the Sharks have failed to cover their last three. Home underdogs in the final seven rounds of the season getting a start of 6.5 or more are 35-18 ATS. Cronulla are 3-7 ATS when favoured by more than 4 on the road since 2012. Home underdogs of 6.5 or more off a win of 20-plus are 8-1 ATS since 2009 while off a double digit win are 21-7 ATS. Road favourites of 6.5 or more off a loss of 13-plus are 9-14 ATS.

In-Play Stat
Souths have been terrible starters leading at halftime just six times this year. Cronulla are 11-2 when winning at halftime.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
South Sydney are a red-hot go in this one despite their suspect form all year. They have hit a good patch with Damien Cook at hooker and if Adam Reynolds is healthy they can get a Sharks team that has lost their mojo. The angles on home underdogs here are excellent, particularly after a strong win. Take the Bunnies every which way.

How It’s Shaping Up
South Sydney by 1

Best Bet
South Sydney +7.5 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
South Sydney 1-12 ($4.55)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Cody Walker ($14.00)

Other Recommended Bets
South Sydney ($3.05)