South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Saturday 5.30pm AEDT at ANZ Stadium
Anthony Seibold's Rabbitohs looked terrific early on against the Panthers last week, only to be run down in the final 10 minutes. Their attitude in defence was obvious, and in truth it was a game they should have won.
The Sea Eagles were scintillating in sizzling conditions last Sunday, and if they get a roll on like they did against Parramatta they will be almost impossible to stop.
The selections: Hymel Hunt has been drafted in to replace Tyrell Fuimaono (dislocated toe) on the bench. Not surprisingly, Manly remain unchanged after romping to a 54-0 win at Lottoland.
The key match-up: Jake Trbojevic v Sam Burgess. While they won't directly line up against one another at lock with Burgess named at prop, you can guarantee fireworks up the middle between the two internationals. The respect is mutual, and both realise just how important they are if their team is to fire.
For the Rabbitohs to win: Limiting the brilliance of Manly halfback and captain Daly Cherry-Evans. The Eels had no answers last Sunday in the heat, with DCE putting on a clinic from the opening whistle.
Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
For the Sea Eagles to win: Remaining desperate in defence. Coach Trent Barrett was delighted to keep the Eels scoreless last start, so if Manly can replicate that urgency they will be hard to contain.
Rabbitohs Stat Attack: With 73 missed tackles, they only trail the Titans and Eels (91) as well as the Sharks (78) in terms of defensive lapses. That stat needs to improve against Manly, who can be red-hot when they have momentum.
Sea Eagles Stat Attack: After thrashing the Eels last week, it is no surprise to see the men in maroon and white with the most points to their name (72) as well as the most tries (12).
And another thing: Cherry-Evans has taken on the added responsibility of goal kicking like a seasoned veteran. Last Sunday he booted nine conversions from 10 attempts, earning comparisons to club legend Jamie Lyon.
Prediction: Sea Eagles by 4.
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Greg Inglis (c), 4 Dane Gagai, 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 Hymel Hunt, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 George Burgess, 17 Tevita Tatola
Robbie Farah and Braidon Burns were dropped from the bench an hour before kickoff. Jason Clark and Kyle Turner were the two players to drop out when the squad was reduced from 21 to 19 players 24-hours out from kick-off. Hymel Hunt replaces Tyrell Fuimaono (dislocated toe) on the bench in the only change for the Rabbitohs. Captain Greg Inglis has been named to start at centre despite leaving the field with a head knock last week.
Match: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Round 3 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Brad Parker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Jackson Hastings, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Kelepi Tanginoa
Matthew Wright and Frank Winterstein were the last two men dropped from the Manly bench by coach Trent Barrett. Jack Gosiewski and Darcy Lussick were dropped from the squad 24-hours out from kick-off. The Sea Eagles are unsurprisingly unchanged after their huge win over the Eels on Sunday.
Head-to-head: 140 games, Sea Eagles 76 wins, Rabbitohs 64 wins
Points per game: Rabbitohs 17; Sea Eagles 36
Points conceded per game: Rabbitohs 25; Sea Eagles 9.5
Televised: Live on Fox League