Parramatta will be striving to arrest a worrying form slide after a two-match losing streak turned the fight for fourth place into hand-to-hand combat.
The Roosters claimed a share off fourth with their 28-0 drubbing of the Eels in the round 20 opener, eating into Parramatta's points differential advantage, while a red-hot Manly side is also closing the gap.
The Eels have one of the toughest closing draws of the top contenders so securing a result against high-scoring Souths is crucial if they aren't to give up their prized finals slot.
The Rabbitohs, in contrast, are sitting pretty six points ahead of the fourth-place scramble and with key troops poised to return to action.
Lock Cameron Murray returns from suspension for the clash with Parramatta while coach Wayne Bennett expects another two or three stars to be available for selection.
Match: Eels v Rabbitohs
Round 21 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Eels: After training well during the week, Mitchell Moses will return in a huge boost for the Eels.
Blake Ferguson (head laceration) is out, with Haze Dunster to start on the wing. Jake Arthur was the other player to drop out of the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Ray Stone will be the 18th man and Waqa Blake will play after passing protocols after failing a HIA last week.
Oregon Kaufusi moves into the starting side at prop with Reagan Campbell-Gillard (groin) out for an indefinite period.
Marata Niukore and Bryce Cartwright have been added to the bench.
Eels fullback Clint Gutherson has scored five tries in his past five games against the Rabbitohs.
Rabbitohs: South Sydney will start 1-17 with Braidon Burns the 18th man.
Tevita Tatola will make an early return from a knee injury and Benji Marshall will return from a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
"I'll go into captain's run on Thursday and have a bit of a run on Friday," Marshall told NRL360 this week.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back with the team."
Patrick Mago and Blake Taaffe were omitted from the extended bench on Thursday night.
The Rabbitohs have scored 38 points in each of three consecutive wins over the Eels.
Match: Eels v Rabbitohs
Round 21 -
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika SivoWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Josh Mansour
Centre for Eels is number 3 Tom OpacicCentre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Dane Gagai
Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa BlakeCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Taane Milne
Winger for Eels is number 18 Haze DunsterWinger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan BrownFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell MosesHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Eels is number 8 Oregon KaufusiProp for Rabbitohs is number 8 Mark Nicholls
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior PauloProp for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jai Arrow
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Eels is number 14 Bryce CartwrightInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Benji Marshall
Interchange for Eels is number 15 Shaun LaneInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Jacob Host
Interchange for Eels is number 16 Marata NiukoreInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Tevita Tatola
Interchange for Eels is number 17 Will SmithInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Jaydn Su'A
Reserve for Eels is number 19 Ray StoneReserve for Rabbitohs is number 18 Braidon Burns
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Reed Mahoney v Damien Cook: If not for Mahoney being injured, these two would probably have squared off during this year's State of Origin series. They're different styles of player, but both can be hugely effective. Mahoney and the Eels need to respond after last week's unhappy outing against the Roosters.
Clint Gutherson has surged into top spot for most runs in the NRL with 366, one more than injured Panthers winger Brian To’o with Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who has played his last game for the club, another four adrift.
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