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Rabbitohs v Broncos: Marshall at five-eighth; Pangai to start

The Rabbitohs coasted to their third straight win with a Good Friday shut-out of the Bulldogs while the Broncos' were shown a clean pair of heels by Ryan Papenhuyzen and the Storm.

Souths barely got out of second gear in downing the Dogs 38-0 and the fact two regular starters are suspended for this one will give coach Wayne Bennett a chance to rotate through some of his squad in what could turn out to be a positive as the season wears on.

This will be the Bunnies' third straight game at Stadium Australia (though they were the away team against Canterbury) as they hunt a fourth consecutive win.

Brisbane's morale-boosting round three win over the battling Bulldogs seemed to carry over into the start of the Storm game as they scored an early try and arguably had the best of the opening 20 minutes.

However, a burst of four tries in 11 minutes from Melbourne custodian Ryan Papenhuyzen effectively ended the contest before half time leaving Brisbane once again struggling for answers.

The rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs will line up 1-17 with Steven Marsters omitted an hour before kick-off and Hame Sele to be the 18th man.

Benji Marshall has taken the No.6 jersey in place of the suspended Cody Walker while Jacob Host will come into the back row for Keaon Koloamatangi (also suspended). Utility Dean Hawkins will debut off the interchange.

Winger Jaxson Paulo and halfback Troy Dargan were omitted 24 hours ahead of kick-off.

The Rabbitohs have won three of their past four games against the Broncos.

Broncos: The Broncos will line up 1-17. Herbie Farnworth is out with shoulder soreness with Richie Kennar coming into the centres. Patrick Carrigan is out suspended, with Tevita Pangai jnr named to start at lock. John Asiata comes into the interchange bench in the 20-man squad named by Kevin Walters.

Corey Paix and Jesse Arthars were the first players to be omitted from the squad on Wednesday. Rhys Kennedy were cut an hour before game time. Ethan Bullemor is the 18th man for the Broncos.

Key match-up

Latrell Mitchell v Jamayne Isaako: In a strong field, Mitchell has been arguably the Bunnies' best so far this year while Isaako was just about the best player on the field in Brisbane's only win so far of 2021.

Mitchell has been powerful and heavily-involved so far this year with three tries and five try assists in four games and an average 150 metres per week. He has yet to go a match without a try assist.

At his best, Isaako's dazzling footwork can turn a match but so far we've seen it just once in four games as he produced a try and an assist with 202 metres against Canterbury.

Stat attack

The Broncos are actually making over 100 more metres per week then the Rabbitohs through four rounds (1718 to 1608) but it is their inability to stop their opposition from marching downfield that is really hurting them. After four rounds the Broncos are conceding 1804 metres per game versus just 1400 per week conceded by Souths – that difference of 400 metres defensively could be telling on Thursday night.

 

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