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Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds' individual Origin III selection disappointments are great news for the Rabbitohs as they look to consolidate third spot on the ladder with a fifth consecutive win.

Avoiding the loss of Walker is particularly valuable as Souths' lethal left edge will be without centre Dane Gagai and the influence of fullback Latrell Mitchell because of Origin duties. 

Souths will be without five Origin representatives but with the Bulldogs, Warriors and Dragons to follow on their schedule before they come up against top-four rivals the Eels coach Wayne Bennett will be keen to make hay while the sun shines. 

North Queensland, whose surge up the ladder suffered a significant reversal in recent weeks with a narrow loss to Cronulla sandwiched by heavy defeats to Manly and Newcastle, will be forced to try and halt the decline without the services of fullback Valentine Holmes and teen centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow. 

The match has been moved from Stadium Australia to Newcastle's McDonald Jones Stadium to comply with Queensland Public Health Orders.

The rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Rookie Peter Mamouzelos will start the game at hooker in a late switch with Benji Marshall, who goes to the bench.

Mamouzelos starts a game for the first time after debuting off the bench in round 14 against the Knights.

Blake Taaffe has been named at fullback with Latrell Mitchell on Origin duty while Braidon Burns comes in at centre for Maroon Dane Gagai.

Hame Sele moves to lock to cover for Blues star Cameron Murray and Thomas Burgess will start at prop.

Jaydn Su'A gets a recall in the back row to fill in for Jai Arrow while Benji Marshall is named at hooker for Blues rake Damien Cook.

Jaxson Paulo and Tautau Moga were the first two players cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. Davvy Moale was the last man cut and Josh Mansour is 18th man.

The Rabbitohs have won eight from eight against teams outside the top eight this season.

Cowboys: The Cowboys are 1-17 with no late changes.

Daejarn Asi comes in at the back for Val Holmes, who is away on  Maroons duty while Connolly Lemuelu (thumb) makes a welcome return to fill the hole left by Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow's Origin call-up.

Coen Hess is named to start at prop with Lachlan Burr on the bench. Tom Gilbert joins the bench with Francis Molo on Origin duty.

Winger Kyle Feldt's exclusion from Queensland's squad will also be welcomed as the Cowboys try to keep pace with the free-scoring Rabbitohs.

Michael Bell and Ben Condon were the first two players omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. Kane Bradley was the last player cut an hour before kick-off and Peter Hola is 18th man.

The Cowboys have won seven of their past nine games at Stadium Australia.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Blake Taaffe
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Daejarn Asi
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Braidon Burns
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Javid Bowen
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly Lemuelu
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Taane Milne
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Tom Dearden

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Mark Nicholls
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Coen Hess
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 17 Peter Mamouzelos
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jaydn Su'A
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Mitchell Dunn
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Hame Sele
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 9 Benji Marshall
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Liam Knight
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Tom Gilbert
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Jacob Host
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Lachlan Burr
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Patrick Mago
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Heilum Luki

Reserves

  • Reserve for Rabbitohs is number 18 Josh Mansour
    Reserve for Cowboys is number 18 Peter Hola

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Chris Butler
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Adam Reynolds v Tom Dearden: Brisbane's future halfback comes up against the man who until very recently was the Broncos' halfback of the future.

Reynolds, who will pull on the Broncos' No.7 jersey next season, sits third on the point-scoring table and found a running game to go with his influential kicking game in Sunday's win over Wests Tigers, outgaining all but flyer Alex Johnston in the Bunnies backline with 116 run metres.

Dearden, who fell out of favour so quickly in Brisbane, has made a solid start since his mid-season switch to Townsville but will have to continue improving if the Cowboys are to stay in contention for a finals berth. 

Stat attack

South Sydney (280) sit a startling second for ineffective tackles behind only Brisbane (306). Defence has been a sore point for the Rabbitohs at times this season and the pressure to tighten up raises a few more notches this week with Cameron Murray and Jai Arrow absent on Origin duties.

The news is much better when it comes to missed tackles with South Sydney at the very bottom of that table.

 

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