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Much hangs on this match-up of premiership hopefuls hoping to bounce back from demoralising round 11 thumpings.

Hosts South Sydney face the bigger challenge having coughed up 50-plus points to competition front-runners Penrith and Melbourne in heavy round nine and 11 losses.

The fact that the Rabbitohs' only defeats of 2021 have come at the hands of their main rivals for a spot in the grand final will be especially concerning for coach Bennett.

The good news is that not only do they have one of the best coaches in NRL history to plot their comeback but they also boast one of the competition's most potent backlines.

Parramatta can take solace in the fact that their upset 28-6 loss to arch-rivals Manly appears, at this stage at least, to be more of a blip than an indication of deeper problems. 

The rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Cameron Murray (ankle) and Jacob Host (quad) will make their returns, with Liam Knight and Jaydn Su'A relegated from the side humbled by Penrith.

Murray moves to an edge forward role with Mark Nicolls starting at lock and Host to come off the bench. 

Josh Mansour (head knock) will miss this week's game and his place on the wing is taken by Taane Milne.

Jai Arrow has been promoted to start at prop with Thomas Burgess going to the bench. Hame Sele joins the bench and Jed Cartwright misses out.

Su'A is the 18th man with Braidon Burns dropping off the extended bench an hour before kick-off. Knight and Patrick Mago were the first two players cut from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Eels: Prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard took an early plea on a high tackle charge and will miss this weekend's game. Oregon Kaufusi moves into the starting side and Marata Niukore joins the bench in his comeback game from a two-week suspension.

Will Penisini is the 18th man with Makahesi Makatoa dropping off the reserves list on game day. Haze Dunster and Jordan Rankin were the first two players omitted from the extended squad on Friday.

Five-eighth Dylan Brown has another week of his ban to serve. Utility Will Smith (thumb) is likely at least another week away from a return.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
    Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
    Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Eels is number 3 Tom Opacic
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
    Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Taane Milne
    Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Jakob Arthur
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Jai Arrow
    Prop for Eels is number 8 Oregon Kaufusi
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
    2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 15 Mark Nicholls
    Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jacob Host
    Interchange for Eels is number 14 Marata Niukore
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Benji Marshall
    Interchange for Eels is number 15 Shaun Lane
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Hame Sele
    Interchange for Eels is number 16 Joey Lussick
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Thomas Burgess
    Interchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce Cartwright

Reserves

  • Reserve for Rabbitohs is number 19 Jaydn Su'A
    Reserve for Eels is number 20 Will Penisini

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Key match-up

Damien Cook v Reed Mahoney: With Harry Grant a real chance of missing Origin I, is this a dress rehearsal for the clash between the NSW and Queensland No.9s? It appears only injury will stop Cook from being named while Mahoney is now a great chance of getting the nod for the Maroons.

Stat attack

It's all about eliminating the negatives for South Sydney and Parramatta. Both rank in the top five for ineffective tackles (Eels No.2 - 203, Rabbitohs No.5 - 195) and top 10 for handling errors (Eels 4th - 106, Bunnies 7th - 103). Souths are also top 10 for penalties conceded (7th, 43) but Parramatta clearly have the upper hand here as only Newcastle (35) have conceded fewer than the Eels (37).

 

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