Matt Attard previews the Sunday afternoon clash between the Bulldogs and the Rabbitohs. This is what we have to look forward to.
Try as they might, the Bulldogs are clearly missing a handful of top quality players that can win them games. Losing Will Hopoate after four minutes against the Tigers forced them into a huge shuffle across a number of positions and ultimately they were outclassed by a very slick Wests outfit.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs are coming off a loss of their own, however their team looks polished in patches and Latrell Mitchell is beginning to find his feet at fullback.
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Christian Crichton 6. Kieran Foran 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kerrod Holland 15. Dean Britt 16. Renouf To’omaga 17. Sauaso Sue 19. Ofahiki Ogden 20. Jack Cogger 21. Luke Thompson 22. Sione Katoa.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. Campbell Graham 4. James Roberts 5. Alex Johnston 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Cameron Murray 14. Liam Knight 15. Bayley Sironen 16. Hame Sele 17. Braidon Burns 18. Mark Nicholls 19. Patrick Mago 20. Troy Dargan 21. Corey Allan.
In the past three meetings between the two, the loser has managed to score just six points. The last two match ups were decided by a single try, meaning a low+scoring contest between two big packs has been the norm over the past three seasons.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak v Latrell Mitchell
Both men are playing “out of position” so to speak, with Watene-Zelezniak arguably one of the finest wingers in the game, but not much of a fullback to be brutally honest. Mitchell was one of the world’s best players while at centre, but Wayne Bennett is adamant he’s a fullback.
Both will be out to prove they’re worthy of wearing the number one jersey. Mitchell is a devastating runner of the ball and over the past month has come into his own, producing better performances each week.
If Watene-Zelezniak can maintain his confidence and step it up, it should be a good battle between the two number ones.
The Rabbitohs have established halves and some killer punches in the back line, while the Bulldogs have a quick-fix 1 to 7 with Hopoate out for up to eight weeks, forcing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to fullback (he is an excellent winger, but a poor fullback at best). Jake Averillo is missing due to injury and Reimis Smith will again play out of position in the centres (the wing is by far his best position). It all points to a big win for the Bunnies.
Rabbitohs by 18.
Date: Sunday July 5.
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.