Rabbitohs v Eels: Bunnies unchanged; Hayne swaps to wing

Rabbitohs v Eels: Bunnies unchanged; Hayne swaps to wing

It was first versus last when they met in round 15 and that's pretty much where they sit with six games remaining, with Souths behind only the Dragons and Melbourne on for-and-against percentages.

The Rabbitohs' nine-game winning streak was snapped in a surprise 22-6 loss to the Tigers last week, but that shouldn't stop them aiming for anything less than the minor premiership at this late stage of the season.

Ironically, the Eels are last-start winners, claiming just their fourth victory of the season with last's scrappy 14-8 defeat of fellow also-rans Canterbury.

The Eels scored three tries to the Bunnies' one in the first 23 minutes of that round 15 clash before Souths caught fire with six unanswered tries en route to a 42-24 triumph. If Parra can defend a bit better than they did that evening and score a similar amount of points, they are capable of giving Rabbitohs a proper scare.

Match: Rabbitohs vs Eels

Round 20 -

Full Time
Rabbitohs

Home Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 26 points
Eels

Away Team

Eels

Scored 20 points

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Fox League
  • LIVE PASS

Key match-up: Adam Reynolds has had consistency issues in recent years, but not this season. His you-do-your-bit-and-I'll-do-mine combination with Cody Walker has been a major factor in the Rabbitohs' ascension to the top of the ladder. They take turns doing their thing and have formed arguably the most effective halves duo in the competition. It's a big challenge for Mitch Moses and Corey Norman but the Eels' chances of springing a monumental upset will be a lot greater if Moses and Norman can over-shadow Reynolds and Walker. 

For the Rabbitohs to win: No need to shift away from a formula that might've taken a month or so to click but has since proven to be highly effective, barring last week's loss to the Tigers. The Bunnies' big blokes up front make it hard for your forwards before their fleet-footed backs terrorise your backs, usually down their deadly left side. If the Eels aren't switched on defensively for 80 minutes they could be in serious trouble.

For the Eels to win: They found out the hard way in round 15 that a 35-minute effort doesn't cut it against the Bunnies. The Eels need to resort to every niggling, disruptive tactic in the book to keep the competition leaders from settling into a comfortable rhythm at any stage. If they can somehow frustrate the Rabbitohs and draw them into a close game, Parra might be a chance of pinching it.

Rabbitohs Stat Attack: Robert Jennings is the Telstra Premiership's leading tryscorer this season and has crossed six times in his past two games against Parramatta.

Eels Stat Attack: Halfback Mitchell Moses will bring up 100 NRL games on Saturday.

And another thing: Of all the attacking threats the Rabbitohs possess, maybe the greatest concern for the Eels is the dazzling form of winger Robert Jennings. His confidence grows with every game and Parra won't have forgotten how he tortured them with a four-try haul in the previous meeting. With his brothers Michael and George lining up for the Eels, the tight-knit Jennings clan will be out in force on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Alex Johnston
    Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Campbell Graham
    Winger for Eels is number 2 Bevan French
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Hymel Hunt
    Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Eels is number 4 Brad Takairangi
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Robert Jennings
    Winger for Eels is number 5 Jarryd Hayne
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Corey Norman
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Eels is number 8 Daniel Alvaro
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Eels is number 9 Kaysa Pritchard
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 George Burgess
    Prop for Eels is number 10 Siosaia Vave
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton
    2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Marata Niukore
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Tepai Moeroa
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Sam Burgess
    Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Adam Doueihi
    Interchange for Eels is number 14 Reed Mahoney
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Cameron Murray
    Interchange for Eels is number 15 Tim Mannah
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Jason Clark
    Interchange for Eels is number 16 David Gower
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Tevita Tatola
    Interchange for Eels is number 17 Peni Terepo

Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs are 1-17, naming an unchanged squad. The Bunnies are aiming to bounce back after last week's surprise loss to the Wests Tigers.

Eels: David Gower returns on the bench replacing George Jennings in the 17, with Tepai Moeroa starting in the second row, Brad Takairangi moving from the bench to centre and Jarryd Hayne from centre to wing.

Head-to-head: Played 124; Rabbitohs 67 wins, Eels 54 wins, 3 draws
Previous result: Rabbitohs won 42-24 at ANZ Stadium in round 15
Points per game: Rabbitohs 23.9; Eels 14.8
Points conceded per game: Rabbitohs 17.1; Eels 22.2
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League

Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Rabbitohs would've been disappointed that they weren't able to make John Sutton's 300th game a winning occasion last week against the Tigers. They'll also be hurting that their winning streak came to an end and I can see them bouncing back in a big way this week. The Eels finally got another win last week but it's hard to see them causing an upset.

Tip: Rabbitohs by 14