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PREVIEW | South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Parramatta Eels

The South Sydney Rabbitohs will host the Parramatta Eels on Saturday afternoon. Can the Rabbitohs regroup, or can the Eels make it back-to-back wins?

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TEAM FORM GUIDE

South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs’ nine-game winning streak ended last week against the Tigers. The Tigers’ defence shut down the Rabbitohs’ lethal left-edge attack. It wasn’t until the 74th minute that Souths finally scored. Sitting first before last week’s loss, they come into round 20 in third on points differential.

Parramatta Eels

Last week’s tough win against the Bulldogs (14-8) ended the Eels’ three-game losing streak (which started with a loss against the Rabbitohs in Round 15). The Eels are still on the bottom of the ladder, though last week’s win allowed them to join the Bulldogs and Cowboys on 10 points with their poor points differential keeping them in 16th place.

 

SQUAD NEWS

South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs team remains unchanged from last round. Alex Johnston will line up at fullback for his 100th game, despite leaving the field with a knee injury against the Tigers. Sam Burgess has been cleared to play after his big hit on Farah was put on report. Adam Reynolds will play his 150th game.

Parramatta Eels

Back rower David Gower returns on the bench, replacing George Jennings. Tepai Moeroa will be starting in the second row, with Brad Takairangi moving into the centres from the bench, and Jarryd Hayne moving out to the wing.

PREVIEW

The Rabbitohs and Eels played in Round 15, with the Rabbitohs winning a high-scoring game 42-24. The Eels scored three tries in the first half, though they were unable to keep up the pace and the Rabbitohs – off the back of Robert Jennings’ four tries – regained the lead late in the first half and ran away in the second half. The Eels were in touch up to halftime, and will need to again start this week’s game with the same energy if they are to give themselves any chance of winning.

South Sydney’s huge pack, lead by Thomas and George Burgess, is of the key factors of the Rabbitohs’ success this season. The Tigers did well to hold out the Rabbitohs last week, but with five players needing to visit HIA for the Tigers, the Rabbitohs’ hard-running forward pack took its toll physically.

Parramatta’s Nathan Brown notched up a game-high 193 metres and 40 tackles last round against the lowly Bulldogs. Robert Jennings is the leading try-scorer this season (crossing six times in his past two games against Parramatta), and will be one to watch, up against his brother Michael Jennings.

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KEY STAT

The Eels have the worst attack in the competition, while the Rabbitohs have the third-best defence.

As well as Alex Johnston’s 100th and Adam Reynolds 150th game, Mitch Moses plays his 100th game in the NRL.

SQUADS

South Sydney Rabbitohs

1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Hymel Hunt, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook. 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess.

Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark,17 Tevita Tatola

Parramatta Eels

1 Clinton Gutherson, 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 Jarryd Hayne, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Marata Niukore, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14 Reed Mahoney, 15 Tim Mannah, 16 David Gower, 17 Peni Terepo

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Saturday 28th July
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 5:30PM

WHO WILL WIN?

The Rabbitohs will bounce back and should win by 10.

NRL PREDICTIONS | Round 20

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