The Rabbitohs and the Eels are set to kick off the first Origin affected round with neither of the teams actually suffering too much as a result of the players off in the respective state camps.

LAST TIME OUT

The Rabbitohs were valiant though a tad dour against the Storm, and found themselves on the wrong side of 14-6. Their defense was on their game and limited Melbourne to only a treble of tries, but they could not get off the ground attacking and the fabled Melbourne defense held them to only one try. They’ll look for a rebound against a much less vaunted defense on Friday.

The Eels were sunk with seven to go when Jordan Rapana crossed for the match winner against the Raiders 22-16. Michael Jennings was injured in the loss and is replaced by Kirisome Auva’a, who was in the Souths premiership team when they won the grand final. The weapons on the offensive side of the ball dwindle with injury and Parramatta’s season needs a jumpstart.

KEY BATTLES

The Eels have made it a habit of their forward pack to lift up against the Rabbitohs lately, and since the infamous Phil Gould claim that the Souths “didn’t know how to lose” early in the 2015 season – midgame before the Eels mounted up a memorable comeback against South Sydney- the rivalry has grown and has produced memorable forward battles. Manu Ma’u and Tepai Moeroa will have their work cut out stopping the British Burgess boys on a weekend where they generally come in to their own.

PREDICTION

The Eels should fight and will fight but a red hot Burgess barrage complimented by an Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker who should have been running out in blue looking to prove a point should see the Rabbitohs win comfortably in this Friday night clash. Look out for Walker and Reynolds making plays on the flanks and exposing a less than assured Parramatta edge. South Sydney by 10.

SQUADS

Rabbitohs team: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Bryson Goodwin 5. Aaron Gray 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Robbie Farah 10. Robbie Rochow 11. Kyle Turner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Damien Cook 15. Tyrell Fuimaono 16. Anthony Cherrington 17. George Burgess 18. Braidon Burns 19. Zane Musgrove 20. David Tyrrell 21. Cameron Murray

Eels team: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown 14. Beau Scott 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Kenny Edwards 17. Siosaia Vave 18. David Gower 19. Will Smith 20. Rory O’Brien 21. Nathan Davis