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Newcastle will be hoping to hop off their 2020 roller-coaster when they travel to Bankwest Stadium to take on a much more consistent Rabbitohs outfit. 

The Knights have alternated wins and losses since drawing with Penrith when the competition resumed in round three while Souths have won four of five, including their past two, to sit just one point behind fifth-placed Newcastle.

A string of injuries and a recent emphasis on shoring up their defensive structures at training has seen Newcastle's attack splutter, the Knights putting just 18 points on the board in their two most recent outings.

The Rabbitohs are unbeaten in "home" games this season, winning for from four, while Newcastle are three and one on the road despite their recent struggles.

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Prop Mark Nicholls is free to take his bench position after successfully challenging the grading of a dangerous contact charge at the judiciary on Tuesday.

Fullback Latrell Mitchell (suspension), centre Campbell Graham (facial fracture) and forward Liam Knight (ankle) are out, with Alex Johnston switching to fullback, Dane Gagai moving to centre and a new wing pairing called up in Corey Allan and debutant Jaxson Paulo. The Rabbitohs have won nine of their past 10 games against the Knights.

Steven Marsters and Cory Denniss were omitted from the reserves 24 hours before kick-off and Jack Johns and Kurt Dillion were cut on game day.

Knights: Jacob Saifiti starts at prop for his injured twin Daniel (knee). Connor Watson (ankle), Mitch Barnett (neck) and Sione Mata'utia (head knock) all return on the bench with Tex Hoy and Brodie Jones making way. The Knights have conceded their fewest number of tries after nine rounds since 2002.

Josh King and Phoenix Crossland were trimmed from the extended squad an hour before kick-off after Hoy and Gehamat Shibasaki were omitted on Friday.

Key match-up

Damien Cook v Andrew McCullough: Origin hooker Cook is slowly increasing in influence as the Rabbitohs refine their ruck tactics under the new rules while McCullough is settling nicely into his new home at Newcastle after a mid-season transfer with burrowing tries in his past two games.

Whichever veteran can provide the most spark from dummy-half will go a long way towards giving their team the upper hand. 

Stat Attack

The Rabbitohs lead the 2020 premiership in intercepts, snagging opponents' passes on eight occasions (a rate of just under one a game) which is almost double the second-placed Bulldogs and Storm (five). The Knights, in contrast, sit a lowly 13th in that category with just two interceptions.