Gold Coast coach Neil Henry won’t be fooled by South Sydney’s shaky NRL formline, their injury-enforced absentees or the supposed sickness dogging Greg Inglis.
The Rabbitohs look potentially ripe for the picking ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Titans at cBus Super Stadium, with key men Adam Reynolds and Glenn Stewart sidelined and Inglis a long way from his best despite his State of Origin I appearance on Wednesday.
Henry can sense an opportunity, but it will only come if his players hold up their end of the bargain, set the early tone and avoid the kind of blowout that came the last time Souths were on the tourist strip, when they were smashed 40-18.
“They blew us off the park here last year, that big pack with the Burgess boys and Luke Keary,” Henry said.
“We’ve conceded some momentum through the mid-part of the field, we’ve talked about it, we’ve worked on it, and it’ll be up to the boys in there to get the job done.
“It’s also our outside players too, our edges need to be tightened up a bit and help out.
“There’s no real secret there, you’ve got to get in front of them and be strong defensively.
“If we don’t do that we’ll be in trouble.”
Gold Coast’s Queensland prop Nate Myles has also been given the green light to play, meaning both sides will have their State of Origin stars backing up after Game I on Wednesday night.
Inglis was solid, if unspectacular, in Queensland’s nailbiting one-point win over NSW – which didn’t go unnoticed by Henry.
“It looked like he was a bit underdone during that game and had been a bit sick throughout the week,” he said.
Souths coach Michael Maguire labelled as “hard markers” anyone who criticised Inglis’ performance, which came on the back of a week-long battle with a bad bout of tonsillitis.
“Everyone expects him to run 100 metres and score a try,” Maguire said.
“But Greg does a lot for whatever team he’s playing in. And for us, the amount of work he does at fullback is quite incredible.
“He had a lot of energy about what he did so we’re looking forward to having him back at fullback.”
Former Rabbitoh Beau Falloon was robbed of the chance to face his old side earlier in the week when he dislocated his wrist at training.
The Titans have named Kierran Moseley to start at hooker in Fallon’s stead, while David Mead (hamstring) has been replaced on the wing by Kevin Gordon.