After scratching out a few wins based largely on defence, the Rabbitohs cut loose in last week's 38-6 demolition of the Broncos.

But they didn't put all their focus on the offence and forget about the defence, which was probably the most pleasing aspect for coach Wayne Bennett against his former club.

Judging by their past two displays against Brisbane and Penrith, it seems clear the Bunnies have bought into Bennett's blueprint for premiership success.

The Cowboys still have a pulse after last week's 28-14 home win over the Titans and are a different team with Jason Taumalolo back from a knee injury, but they'll have to produce something really special to spring an upset on Sunday.

Match: Rabbitohs v Cowboys

Round 9 -

Full Time
Rabbitohs

Home Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 32 points
Cowboys

Away Team

Cowboys

Scored 16 points

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: For the sixth straight week, Junior Tatola (No.14) was moved from the bench to the starting side an hour before kick-off, with George Burgess going back to the interchange. Otherwise, the Rabbitohs are 1-17. After Jacob Gagan and Connor Tracey were omitted from the reserves on Saturday, Dean Britt and Mawene Hiroti were left out an hour from game time.

Cowboys: In a change made an hour before kick-off, Enari Tuala is out of the Cowboys team with Tom Opacic (No.19) to start in the centres. In another move, Kurt Baptiste (No.14) will start at hooker with Jake Granville to start on the bench. Tuala and Shane Wright were the two players left out 60 minutes before game time. Jake Clifford and Corey Jensen were trimmed from the reserves on Saturday.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Alex Johnston
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Jordan Kahu
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Corey Allan
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Kyle Turner
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'Neill
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Cowboys is number 19 Tom Opacic
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell Graham
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Ben Hampton
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 John Asiata
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Michael Morgan

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 14 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Matthew Scott
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 14 Kurt Baptiste
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Gavin Cooper
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Sam Burgess
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 8 George Burgess
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 9 Jake Granville
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Mark Nicholls
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Mitchell Dunn
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Ethan Lowe
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Scott Bolton
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Liam Knight
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis Molo

Key match-up

No player in the NRL is hotter than Cody Walker and he looms as the man the Cowboys have to shut down. Of course, that's easier said than done as the Broncos, Warriors etc etc have all found out in 2019. On Sunday there's a good chance he'll line up against Josh Asiata, who started at five-eighth against the Titans despite initially being named at lock. Walker will be licking his lips at the prospect of opposing a player who spends most of his time in the forwards.

For the Rabbitohs to win

They can't afford a drop-off in hunger and intensity after last week's five-star display against Brisbane. Walker and Adam Reynolds have to pull the strings as they've done all year and the pair will be mindful of maintaining their good form with the Origin series just around the corner. Sam Burgess was tremendous last week and will be looking for more of the same on Sunday.

For the Cowboys to win

Jason Taumalolo's impact in last week's comeback game from injury can't be understated and the Cowboys will be counting on another powerful performance from their wrecking ball lock against arguably the hottest team in the competition. Michael Morgan needs to be at his best against Walker and Reynolds.

Brett Kimmorley says

For the Cowboys it might all depend of Jason Taumalolo, when he plays well the Cowboys have a good chance of winning. The rest of them are struggling a little bit. Jake Granville should be looking forward to the challenge of taking on Damien Cook. He’s been a bit below par for 12-18 months now. For Souths, Cody Walker can keep pushing for an Origin spot so long as the incumbents keep going like the have been. South Sydney are the real deal. Rabbitohs by 12

Stat Attack

Cody Walker is the NRL's leading try-scorer (9) and sits third in try assists (7). Damien Cook heads three separate categories including receipts (978), line engaged (61) and dummy-half runs (77). The Rabbitohs lead all teams in runs (1,518) and run metres (13,478). The Cowboys and Bunnies both rank in the top three teams for post-contact metres.

And another thing ...

Paul Green must've run out of patience with Jake Clifford after replacing him with a lock who was primarily used as a back-up prop last year. It remains to be seen if 104kg John Asiata retains his spot in the halves alongside Michael Morgan, but most coaches won't change a winning team so it looks like Clifford will have to work his way back into Paul Green's good books through reserve grade.