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With a grand final berth on the line, the Rabbitohs are looking to bid farewell to Wayne Bennett and Adam Reynolds on a high note while Manly continue to ride the wave of one of the great individual seasons from Tom Trbojevic.

The Rabbitohs turned the finals series on its head with a shock win over Penrith in the opening week of the finals, ending the chances of another Panthers-Storm premiership decider.

Kick-off for the preliminary final will be at 8.05pm after the Sea Eagles bus was delayed by traffic.

Instead, South Sydney or Manly will advance from this Friday's clash at Suncorp Stadium following two sensational attacking performances from these clubs.

Earlier this season the Rabbitohs became the first team in premiership history to score 30 points in eight consecutive matches.

Sportsbet Betting preview: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles

Even without suspended fullback Latrell Mitchell they managed to get the better of Penrith, the league's best defensive team, in the qualifying finals.

Meanwhile, Manly became the first team to have three players score at least 20 tries this season in Trbojevic, Jason Saab and Reuben Garrick.

The Sea Eagles were missing their talismanic fullback in the only previous meeting between these sides in 2021, with Souths prevailing 26-12 in round two.

But Manly are a different side since then, making this clash a particularly intriguing prospect with a huge prize up for grabs.

The rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Wayne Bennett's team will start 1-17 with Patrick Mago the 18th man.

There are no injury concerns for the Bunnies with coach Wayne Bennett sticking with the same team that upset Penrith in week one of the finals.

Apart from suspended fullback Latrell Mitchell and winger Josh Mansour (knee), Souths are rested and at full strength for the preliminary final.

"The bodies are a bit fresher after not having to play [last week] and mentally we could switch off and just prepare for this week," captain Adam Reynolds said.

Braidon Burns and Jed Cartwright were omitted from the reserves list on Thursday night.

The Rabbitohs have won five of their past six games against the Sea Eagles.

Sea Eagles: In a positional change announced an hour before kick-off, Sean Keppie moves into the starting side at prop with Martin Taupau dropping back to the bench.

Despite being described as "ready to go" by coach Des Hasler on Thursday, Brad Parker is out with a hand injury with Moses Suli replacing him at centre.

Tevita Funa will be Manly's 18th man.

Parker and Curtis Sironen dropped out of the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic requires one try to break Phil Blake’s club try-scoring record.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Blake Taaffe
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Morgan Harper
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 19 Moses Suli
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Mark Nicholls
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Josh Aloiai
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 16 Sean Keppie
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Haumole Olakau'atu
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jaydn Su'A
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Josh Schuster
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Benji Marshall
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Jacob Host
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Dylan Walker
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Thomas Burgess
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Karl Lawton
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Jai Arrow
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka

Reserves

  • Reserve for Rabbitohs is number 19 Patrick Mago
    Reserve for Sea Eagles is number 21 Tevita Funa

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:

Key match-up

This could be the last hurrah as a Rabbitoh for Adam Reynolds, who is bound for the Broncos next season, and he's up against the incumbent Kangaroos No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans.

Both halfbacks have been instrumental in their team's success this year, Reynolds with his renowned long kicking game and sharpshooting ability while DCE's looping passes to his wide men have made Manly a try-scoring threat from anywhere on the field.

While the headlines will be focused on South Sydney's efforts to shut down Tom Trbojevic, this battle of the halfbacks could go a long way towards deciding this contest.

Stat attack

Manly goal-kicker Reuben Garrick is on the hunt for Hazem El Masri's record for the most points by an individual in a season, with 322.

The Bulldogs great scored 342 in the 2004 season with 16 tries and 139 goals, while Garrick has 21 tries and 112 goals for the Sea Eagles in 2021.

 

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