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Panthers v Rabbitohs: Doueihi replaces Reynolds

The Bunnies were arguably the biggest disappointments in round one, ruining the much-hyped return of Greg Inglis and debut of Dane Gagai.

Despite a questionable no-try ruling against the Bunnies, rookie coach Anthony Seibold didn't offer excuses, claiming his team was simply out-played over the 80 minutes by a hungrier Warriors outfit.

It doesn't get any easier against a Panthers side high on morale after scoring 24 unanswered points in Sunday's come-from-behind triumph over Parramatta.

Seibold will soon start feeling the pinch if the Rabbitohs don't put in a much-improved round two performance but it's early days in his coaching career.

The selections

Souths coach Anthony Seibold has opted for Lebanese international Adam Doueihi to replace Adam Reynolds (knee surgery) in the No.7 jersey, meaning Robbie Farah once again misses out for the men from Redfern.

Mark Nicholls has been demoted to the interchange bench, with Tom and Sam Burgess the Rabbitohs' two starting props. Cameron Murray is poised to start at lock, with Tevita Tatola handed an opportunity off the pine.

Panthers v Rabbitohs

Penrith have named Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Viliame Kikau to run out, with Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris dropping back to the bench.

The key match-up: The clash between rival halves Nathan Cleary and Cody Walker could be decisive but potentially Souths could use debutant Adam Doueihi, a noted kicker in the lower grades. The bigger battle will be between experienced forwards Trent Merrin and Sam Burgess – two blokes who possess a damaging combination of skills and raw power, who will be hell-bent on getting the better of each other.

For the Panthers to win: The Panthers need to understand when the ref blows time-on that it actually signals the start of play. Out-hustled and out-muscled by the Eels for the first 25 minutes last week, Penrith can’t get in the risky habit of playing catch-up.

For the Rabbitohs to win: Absurd as it may sound, the Bunnies might be better off starting badly because last week’s good start ultimately got them nowhere. Walker and debutant Doueihi have to click and provide stars Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai with as much ball as possible.

Panthers stat attack: Trent Merrin powered through a heavy workload with 49 tackles in the comeback win over Parramatta, but Panthers pivot James Maloney was suspect in defence with seven missed tackles.

Rabbitohs stat attack: The Bunnies lead the NRL in line breaks (8) after one round. The problem is they also conceded seven line breaks in last week's loss to the Warriors and let in six tries.

And another thing: This clash offers a real gulf in class when it comes to goal kicking. Nathan Cleary has virtually established himself as the NRL's best, while Walker is a part-timer and Doueihi is on debut. Clutch goalkicking could be the difference.

The prediction: Panthers by 4.

Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Tyrone Peachey, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin

Interchange: 14 Corey Harawira-Naera, 15 Sam McKendry, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Fisher-Harris

Reserves: 18 Sione Katoa, 19 Tim Browne, 20 Dean Whare, 21 Christian Crichton

The above team is subject to change one hour before kick-off.

Rabbitohs:  1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Greg Inglis (c), 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Doueihi, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Sam Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Cameron Murray

Interchange: 14 Tyrell Fuimaono, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 George Burgess, 17 Tevita Tatola

Reserves: 18 Robbie Farah, 19 Jason Clark, 20 Hymel Hunt, 21 Vincent Leuluai

The above team is subject to change one hour before kick-off.

Saturday March 17, 5.30pm AEDT, Panthers Stadium

Head-to-head: 85 games, Rabbitohs 45 wins, Panthers 34 wins, 1 draw

Matches at the venue: 41 games, Panthers 20 wins, Rabbitohs 20 wins, 1 draw

Last five games: Rabbitohs 3 wins; Panthers 2 wins

2017 matches: Rabbitohs won 21-20 in round 6 and 42-14 in round 17

2017 points per game: Panthers 21; Rabbitohs 23.5

2017 points conceded per game: Panthers 19.1; Rabbitohs 23.5

Televised: Fox League, NRL Live Pass

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