7.00pm (AEST), Monday, April 13
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
North Queensland have surged back to form in the nick of time courtesy of back-to-back victories, but they face their biggest test of the season to date when they travel to Sydney to take on the defending champs, who are reeling from a mini-injury crisis.
John Sutton returns from a broken jaw into the familiar five-eighth role, with Luke Keary shifting to halfback in the place of injured linchpin Adam Reynolds. Strike centre Dylan Walker also remains on the injured list for the Rabbitohs. The Cowboys have named an unchanged 17, with Glenn Hall travelling as 18th man.
South Sydney hold a 13-12-1 lead in the all-time register against North Queensland, but the Cowboys have won the last three encounters between the clubs. Their 22-10 upset late last season broke a run of six straight losses to the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. Johnathan Thurston has scored just one try and 62 points in 14 matches against Souths – the genius half’s lowest tallies against any current club.
Souths responded to their shock 29-16 loss to Parramatta in Round 4 with a character-filled Good Friday victory over Canterbury. Although the 18-17 win was overshadowed by the controversial finish and aftermath, the Rabbitohs clawed their way back to grab a last-gasp triumph despite having less than 40 per cent possession. The memory of the Cowboys’ dismal 0-3 start is beginning to fade in the wake of their 18-17 golden point defeat of Melbourne in Round 4 and last Monday’s comprehensive 30-10 away win over Penrith, with Johnathan Thurston spearheading both successes.
Thurston’s mind-blowing performances in the past fortnight have underlined his status as the code’s dominant playmaker, while Luke Keary – a premiership-winner who has played just 27 games – has been thrust into the No.7 hot-seat in the wake of Adam Reynolds’ injury. Keary has started the season superbly at five-eighth but this represents his biggest test to date. Ironically, the pair could be opposing pivots in this year’s Origin series, with Keary in the frame for a NSW debut and Thurston a certainty to wear the Queensland No.6 jumper.
Stats That Matter
South Sydney are 21-9 at home since the start of 2013 (17-13 against the start), including 18-9 (14-13 ATS) as home favourite. North Queensland are a dismal 9-19 away (13-15 ATS) during that period, but have covered in six of their last eight road games. As away underdog from 2013-15, the Cowboys are 5-11 (10-6 ATS). Souths are 4-3 on Mondays (3-4 against the line) over the last three seasons, while the Cowboys are 4-6 (2-8 ATS) in the timeslot but have won three Monday night games in a row.
North Queensland’s turnaround in the last fortnight has been remarkable, while their record in Sydney towards the end of the 2014 regular season – topped up by a victory at Penrith last week – will provide the Cowboys with ample confidence. South Sydney has endured a heavy injury toll this season and have repeatedly overcome the loss of key players, but Adam Reynolds’ absence is a new test altogether – the Rabbitohs have only played without their No.7 once since his 2012 debut, going down to the Roosters in Round 26 last year. The Cowboys look the goods for a victory as away outsiders at a juicy $2.10, while it would be prudent to keep the 1-12 margins for both sides in mind. Consider the under with the Cowboys tightening their defence in recent outings.
How It’s Shaping Up
Cowboys by 4
Cowboys to win ($2.10)
Other Recommended Bets
Under 40.5 ($1.90)
2015 NRL Round 6 Betting Preview for Souths vs Nth Queensland thanks to William Hill Australia.
Souths vs Nth Queensland Comparison Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 6 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.