Round 1 predicted side

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RABBITOHS
NRL.com predicted round one team
Author
Chris Kennedy & Jamie Soward
Timestamp
Thu 24 Dec 2020, 07:01 AM

In a series analysing who will line up in each position for all 16 teams in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership in 2021, NRL.com looks at the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

NRL.com says: Fit-again duo Patrick Mago and Braidon Burns will push for spots while a few of the reserve forwards are in line for the final two bench positions.

The addition of Jai Arrow and departure of Bayley Sironen could mean Cam Murray has to play on an edge.

Jamie Soward says: It’s a strong side with no real question marks. The biggest competition will be who tries to force their way in on the bench but 1-17 this is a top-three side at their best.

Whether they need someone to relieve Damien Cook at times will be interesting. Maybe not to start the year but towards the back end, do they have an option if Cook goes down?

With Latrell coming back from injury they may look to give him a spell in the early games, either switch him to centre or take him off which might help Burns with a spot on the bench since Allan has shown how good he can be at fullback.

Murray will go to the back row because he can play anywhere but I wouldn’t be surprised if Arrow plays up front with Burgess and Murray stays at 13 then someone like Keaon or Cartwright can play on an edge.

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I think that is a weak back 3 for running the ball out. I thought Paulo finished the year strongly as did Nicholls. I would be surprised if they miss out.

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the wingers would both be weak ball returners… but latrell? he is strong af

i reckon a fit tom amone would be pushing for a bench spot. He’s a scary defender when fit. Hope that ACL injury clears up soon. When is he back?

Tom has left the club buddy unfortunately

I think Paulo is a quality young player. He needs work under the high ball, but he finishes well, He tackles well, and he makes the tough runs every set with an average of about 110 meters a game.
He also tries shit closeto the line that got results like a couple of kicks back inside , a beautiful pass inside for Reyno with a few defenders on him as he was going down in the tackle.

I think Allan is actually a good nitty gritty winger, but just lacks the speed.
He’ll get you between 100 and 150 meters a game. Nice and solid in defence.

AJ just doesn’t get in at dummyhalf that much which from a team perspective isn’t a bad thing because it isn’t one of his strengths.

He would do well to watch some tapes of Nathan Merritt and his ability to use his speed backing up through the middle. Teddy also.
Merritt wasn’t the greatest stepper or couldn’t really run over the top of you, but just had an incredible knack of finding space.

Gagai is still a worry. I watched the Cowboys game the other day and he and AJ were deplorable in defence.
They handed Morgan his one and only good game for the season on a platter. I still think Bennett will use him on the wing.

Moga hasn’t even been listed in the 28 players, but I have no doubt he’ll be in the running if fit.
With Jed/Host and Graham on the left Edge and Sua and Moga on the right I think we have the big bodies that Bennet wants to tighten our edges up.

Best thing is it’s difficult to choose & there are options across the park. I guess those that train the hardest will be favoured?

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I don’t think that side is too far off what will line-up Round 1 - I’d switch Allan and Gagai and I’d lean towards Cartwright over Host but other than that it’s bang on what i’d name personally.

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It will be interesting to see what our team looks like come round 1

One thing that is obvious is that we are weak at second row after the departure of Sam and Sutto compounded by the departure of Lowe, Sirro, Johns and Rodwell

A statistical forward pack would look like

PR - Koalamatangi
HK - Cook
PR - Arrow
SR - SuA
SR -
LK - Murray

I - Burgess
I - Tatola
I - Knight
I - Sele

Host doesnt impress me on paper so we could see someone like Angianga or Gardner come through. Pity French will be a short second rower it will hinder his progress. Zampech was the other one who was evolving into a SR but he may have headed home to Queensland

I think Cartwright will own our left edge spot this year & has the added ability to cover centre.
Edit:- i think the other two in contention for left edge are Host & Milne.

Latrell
AJ
Graham
Allen
Gagai
Walker
Reynolds
Burgess
Cook
Tatola
Murray
Sua
Arrow

Nicholls
Koala
Knight
Sele/Cartwright

I really don’t rate paulo so I don’t want to see him there. I think Allan us in a weird position, he is a great fullback but isn’t faster enough to be on the wing. I think he will be tried out at centre

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So you don’t think Moga & Marsters are better centres than Allen?

I think Allen has earned a spot in first grade for helping us get to another prelim, and yes he is a better player then both of them by a mile

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I think Allen has shown he is a competent fullback for sure, however i’m yet to be convinced in other positions. It was suggested to him to look elsewhere & i think that’s an indicator he is not considered top 17 with LM fit. Just another indicator of our depth though.

I think he deserves a shot to nail down a position in the first few rounds, too. Just where though? I’d like to see how he goes at centre, but I think Moga would be good for us there too, if he were fit.

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If Moga, Mago, Seles, Host, Milne, Allan and Jed all perform to their ability we shouldn’t lose a beat when injuries occur in 2021.

Allan’s predicament reminds me of Curtis Scott, he was supposed to be the heir to Slater’s throne at the Storm but they shifted him to Centre permanently full-time then signed Papenhuyzen and had Hughes there also.

Allan seems like a team player and i think if he gets paid reasonably, he’ll stay here regardless of what number he has on his back.

He is still a Fullback first and foremost but there is some possibility that he won’t see a game at Fullback next year if LM stays fit and both players are picked for all three origin games, the question mark for Allan is the fitness of Ponga for the Maroons - Depending on early round form he may even slot in at Centre with Gagai for QLD.

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Yes. I’ve never seen Allen play centre.

Did you ever see latrell play centre before Robinson put him there?

I agree just like Latrell Allan will be able to handle the transition to centre very well. Whilst not his preferred position he will be a much better centre then a winger because of his silky hands and solid defence. I feel on the wing these days you need to be super quick and also very explosive in attack to break tackles and post contact meters. Allan is very good and being the link between this and also creating overlaps so I think he will go really well feeding our wingers with good ball and plenty of space to get over the line.

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