Just when it looked as though the Tigers were done and dusted for 2018, they spring a major upset and knock off the Dragons to stay in the finals race.
The return of Benji Marshall gave the Tigers a lift, Robbie Farah provided veteran leadership and Moses Mybe was also instrumental in the 20-16 win.
Now they face the No.1 team in the competition, knowing they have to keep winning to stay alive.
The Rabbitohs notched their ninth straight win last week - their longest streak in 29 years - with a solid performance against a surprisingly stubborn Bulldogs.
The streak has to end sooner or later but the Bunnies will probably have too many weapons for the Tigers to deal with.
Key match-up: Robbie Farah left the Rabbitohs on good terms and is loving being back with the Tigers, but you can bet your life he'll be stinging to get one over Damien Cook. While there's no suggestion of bad blood between the former club-mates, former NSW hooker Farah is a proud competitor and would love to remind the current Blues hooker he still has a few tricks up his sleeve. It's a big day for Farah as he plays his 250th game in Tigerscolours.
For the Tigers to win: Defence hasn't been an issue for the Tigers (seventh best in points conceded) but they rank above only the Eels in terms of points scored. On the plus side they showed last week that their attack has more spark with the recent addition of Mbye and Farah. They will certainly have to defend well against the Bunnies but have to score at least 20 points.
For the Rabbitohs to win: Of all the Bunnies' danger men, Cook looms as the man the Tigers should fear most. He is one of the NRL's form players and his explosive speed from dummy-half could cause the Tigers all kinds of problems. Adam Reynolds was outstanding last week and Rabbitohs will be very hard to beat if he has a similar impact.
Wests Tigers Stat Attack: The Tigers may be outside the top eight but they have already shown they can mix it with the league's best, winning four times in five games against top-four opposition this season.
Rabbitohs Stat Attack: It's a match of milestones for the Bunnies, with John Sutton becoming the first Rabbitoh to reach 300 games, Dane Gagai bringing up his 150th NRL game and the club chasing a rare 10-game winning streak.
And another thing: Michael Jennings' career might be on the slide, but his brother Robert is keeping the family name in the headlines. Robert - eight years younger than Michael - chalked up his third hat-trick of tries this season when he crossed for three of Souths' four tries in last week's win over the Bulldogs. The 22-year-old leads the NRL with 16 tries, one ahead of David Fusitu'a and two ahead of Val Homes and Josh Addo-Carr.
Match: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
Round 19 -
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses MbyeFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Alex Johnston
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David NofoalumaWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Campbell Graham
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Esan MarstersCentre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Hymel Hunt
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Kevin NaiqamaCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Corey ThompsonWinger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Robert Jennings
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji MarshallFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Russell PackerProp for Rabbitohs is number 8 Thomas Burgess
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie FarahHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Ben MatulinoProp for Rabbitohs is number 10 George Burgess
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Michael Chee-Kam2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Josh Aloiai2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Angus Crichton
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Elijah TaylorLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Sam Burgess
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Alex TwalInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Adam Doueihi
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Sauaso SueInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Luke GarnerInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Jason Clark
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Matthew EisenhuthInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Tevita Tatola
Wests Tigers: The Tigers will run out as named on Tuesday. Chris Lawrence (hamstring) is out, Michael Chee Kam starts in the second row and Alex Twal returns on the bench. Robbie Rochow and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak were cut an hour out from kick-off.
Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs are also 1-17 after a smooth preparation. The Bunnies are seeking a 10th straight win. Jason Clark returns from suspension on the bench in place of Mark Nicholls in South Sydney's only change. Nicholls and Braidon Burns were omitted an hour before kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 30; Rabbitohs 16 wins, Wests Tigers 14 wins
Previous result: Rabbitohs won 28-8 in round 10, 2017
Points per game: Wests Tigers 15.4; Rabbitohs 25
Points conceded per game: Wests Tigers 18.3; Rabbitohs 16.8
Televised: Live on Fox League
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: Robbie Farah was in outstanding form last weekend and he can lift the Tigers to some big upsets in the run home - but I can't see the Bunnies being one of those victims of the Farah-Marshall reunion show. The Rabbitohs will be primed for a big game in John Sutton's 300th and they are on a massive roll and full of confidence.
Tip: Rabbitohs by 12
Match: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
Round 19 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
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