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After seven consecutive wins, the Rabbitohs had their streak halted by a desperate Eels last week.

The effort was there all night and they had Parramatta fans worried for the majority of the first half, but the absence of four Origin players was noticeable down the stretch when Adam Reynolds looked too tired to game-manage all by himself.

It turns out he was struggling with a back injury, with Reynolds ruled out on Thursday after initially being selected to play.

Cody Walker will also miss the match with Bennett choosing to rest the No.6 as he battles niggling injuries.

Souths' loss left the Knights all alone as the NRL's hottest team, with five straight wins heading into last week's bye.

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds (back) and Cody Walker (rested) are out, with Adam Doueihi and Connor Tracey to start in the halves. Damien Cook, Dane Gagai and Cameron Murray will back up from Origin I. In a late change an hour before kick-off Billy Brittain has come onto the bench at the expense of Mark Nicholls. James Roberts is back in Souths colours for the first time since 2011 and lines up in the centres and Ethan Lowe moves to the bench. Captain Sam Burgess will line up against the in-form Knights pack and then go under the knife for shoulder surgery which will see him miss two matches. 

Knights: Scans on Friday revealed David Klemmer had fractured his wrist in Origin I and his absence sees James Gavet move into the starting side and Pasami Saulo join the bench. Kalyn Ponga won't back up from Origin and his place at fullback is taken by Kurt Mann, who was originally named at five-eighth. Mason Lino comes in at five-eighth. Connor Watson is back in the starting line-up at hooker for injured Danny Levi (ankle), while Jamie Buhrer is on the bench and should get some decent game time as a back-up dummy half. Josh King and Jacob Saifiti dropped off the reserves list on Thursday and Tautau Moga was the last man omitted an hour before kick-off. 

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Corey Allan
    Fullback for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Mawene Hiroti
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 James Roberts
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Hymel Hunt
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Jesse Ramien
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell Graham
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 19 Connor Tracey
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 21 Mason Lino
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 20 Adam Doueihi
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce


  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 George Burgess
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Connor Watson
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Knights is number 16 James Gavet
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Sam Burgess
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Tim Glasby


  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Tevita Tatola
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Jamie Buhrer
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Ethan Lowe
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Liam Knight
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Sione Mata'utia
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 22 Billy Brittain
    Interchange for Knights is number 19 Pasami Saulo

Match Officials

  • Referee: Grant Atkins
  • Referee: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Tim Roby
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Sam Burgess is putting off shoulder surgery to play this game so he obviously believes the Knights are the real deal. But that might leave the uncompromising hitman a little vulnerable if some of the Newcastle forwards make him a target. We all know about his high pain threshold (he played the entire 2014 grand final with a fractured eye-socket) and his inability to back down from a challenge, so look for Burgess to mix it up with Mitch Barnett and Lachlan Fitzgibbon.

For the Rabbitohs to win

It probably won't be known until an hour before kick-off exactly who will take the field for the Bunnies. That could be a potential distraction but Wayne Bennett won't let them use it as an excuse. John Sutton has a point to prove after an up and down performance against the Eels, while the outside backs need to fire after being nullified by Parra.

For the Knights to win

Confidence is soaring after five straight wins, which includes their round 11 thumping of the Roosters, and Nathan Brown will be crossing his fingers the bye didn't halt their momentum. If they can handle the Rabbitohs up front as well as they handled the Roosters, the Knights have the firepower in the backs to stretch the win streak to six games.

Brett Kimmorley says

Newcastle looked really good against the Roosters. They are absolutely flying. Now for another huge test. I was looking forward to Mitchell Pearce's clash with Adam Reynolds and it's disappointing that Reynolds is out with a back injury. Six weeks ago, there were questions asked about the Knights coach, now we are wondering if they can win the comp. Rabbitohs by 2

Stat Attack

Wayne Bennett will be reminding his team about the importance of defence after last week's loss to the Eels. The Bunnies kept turning the home side away in the first 25 minutes but were gradually worn down. When the dust had settled the stats sheet showed 47 missed tackles and 21 ineffective tackles.

And another thing ...

The Rabbitohs and Knights met just once in 2018, with Souths prevailing 36-18. Scoring tries for the Bunnies were Robert Jennings, Greg Inglis, Damien Cook, Cody Walker, Dane Gagai and Campbell Graham. Newcastle's try-scorers were Shaun Kenny-Dowall (2) and Lachlan Fitzgibbon. Souths led 16-12 at half-time.


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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