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One team beat the back-to-back premiers by 52 points last weekend, the other lost by 30 to a team that wasn't good enough to make the finals.

Newcastle - the side entering Sunday's elimination final at ANZ Stadium wanting to forget Round 20 - will be hoping their first finals appearance since 2013 lasts for more than one week.

South Sydney can't be expected to repeat the brilliance they displayed last weekend, but even 80 per cent of that might be enough for Wayne Bennett's side to advance to week two of the finals.

Cody Walker enjoyed arguably the best performance of his career in Round 20. The Knights should consider themselves warned.

The rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Liam Knight will start the match in jersey No.15 with Jaydn Su'A dropping back to the bench. Apart from that, South Sydney are 1-17 after Hame Sele and Patrick Mago were the two players left out an hour before the match.

Steven Marsters and Troy Dargan were omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. The Rabbitohs have won their past four finals games at ANZ Stadium.

Knights: Mason Lino is out of the Newcastle team, with Kurt Mann moving from hooker to five-eighth and Chris Randall (No.14) from the bench to the hooking role.

Herman Ese'ese moves from the bench to start at lock, with Aidan Guerra dropping back to the bench.

Tex Hoy will come off the interchange bench after Josh King joined Lino as the last two players omitted from the squad.

Gehamat Shibasaki and Brodie Jones were trimmed from the reserves list on Saturday. The Knights have conceded 140 points in their past four away games.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Corey Allan
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Campbell Graham
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 9 Kurt Mann
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Knights is number 14 Chris Randall
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Bayley Sironen
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 15 Liam Knight
    2nd Row for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Knights is number 16 Herman Ese'ese

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
    Interchange for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Mark Nicholls
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Jed Cartwright
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Sione Mata'utia
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Keaon Koloamatangi
    Interchange for Knights is number 20 Tex Hoy

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell

Last updated:

Key match-up

Kalyn Ponga v Corey Allan: You'd think Ponga needs to produce something special for the Knights to win. If his pack is able to get the upper hand, the prodigious talent he has will have a chance to shine.

As for Allan, he is growing into the role that opened up when Latrell Mitchell injured his hamstring in fine style.

Stat attack

Alex Johnston didn't let spending most of the season looking for another club for 2021, before an 11th-hour change resulted in him re-signing, affect his play. He finished the year as the leading try scorer and with the most line breaks and intercepts.