The Wests Tigers are under enormous pressure to climb out of the very deep hole they dug for themselves in their 50-point capitulation to the Storm on the Gold Coast last round.
Michael Maguire's men were behind 60-0, coming hot on the heels of conceding 40 points to the Eels, before they were able to respond with improved defence and three late tries.
The Wests Tigers coach will be looking improvement across the board. While more resilience and commitment in defence would be welcome, surer hands in attack are also vital because it was repeated errors that put Melbourne in prime point-scoring positions.
The joint-venture club has slipped to 14th on the ladder, four points outside the top eight, and is in desperate need of a change in momentum if the club is to make the finals for the first time since 2011.
Souths have put their two big losses to Melbourne and Penrith well behind them with a three-game win streak that has the Rabbitohs firmly ensconced in fourth place on the ladder.
Match: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
Round 16 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Wests Tigers: The Tigers are 1-17 with no late changes.
Coach Michael Maguire made just three changes to his 17 in the wake of last round's capitulation to Melbourne.
Adam Doueihi (head knock) makes his return to the centres in place of Tommy Talau, who drops out of the squad, while interchange forward Alex Seyfarth swaps places with starting lock Joe Ofahengaue and Thomas Mikaele earns a recall to the bench with Tom Amone being relegated to the reserves.
Shawn Blore (ankle) has been named on the interchange despite concerns about his availability.
Amone and Jake Simpkin were the first two players cut from the squad on Saturday. Fatalaiga Pauga was the last man cut one hour before kick-off and Michael Chee Kam is 18th man.
Wests Tigers five-eighth Moses Mbye will play his 150th NRL game.
Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs are 1-17 with Jaydn Su'A the last man cut and Braidon Burns 18th man.
Benji Marshall (birth of child) returns in the No.14 jumper, with Blake Taaffe dropping to reserves, while Hame Sele is promoted from the interchange to take the place of starting prop Tevita Tatola (knee) and Liam Knight is the new forward on the bench.
The club's five Origin players - Latrell Mitchell, Dane Gagai, Damien Cook, Jai Arrow and Cameron Murray - got through Sunday night without injury and have been named to start.
Blake Taafe and Josh Mansour were omitted from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston has scored eight tries in his past three games.
Match: Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
Round 16 -
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Daine LaurieFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David NofoalumaWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 James RobertsCentre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Dane Gagai
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Adam DoueihiCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Ken MaumaloWinger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Taane Milne
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Moses MbyeFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 James TamouProp for Rabbitohs is number 8 Mark Nicholls
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jacob LiddleHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Alex TwalProp for Rabbitohs is number 10 Hame Sele
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jai Arrow
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Alex SeyfarthLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Stefano UtoikamanuInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Benji Marshall
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Shawn BloreInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Liam Knight
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Thomas MikaeleInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Thomas Burgess
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Joe OfahengaueInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Jacob Host
Reserve for Wests Tigers is number 18 Michael Chee KamReserve for Rabbitohs is number 18 Braidon Burns
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Touch Judge: Peter Gough
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
David Nofoaluma v Alex Johnston: The Wests Tigers winger has struggled to reprise his wonderful 2020 campaign. While his nine tries are nothing to be ashamed of, he sits eight four-pointers behind NRL leader Johnston and has another eight wingers ranked ahead of him on the try-scoring list. His Rabbitohs rival, in contrast, just cannot stop scoring tries. He has two hat-tricks and a double in his past three outings and is closing in on his fourth season of 20-plus tries. His defence also outshines Nofoaluma with just seven missed tackles to 19.
The Rabbitohs lead the NRL in intercepts with eight but have only one player, Cody Walker (two), who has snagged more than one. The top individual for intercepts is Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans, who has snared four of second-ranked Manly's seven.
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