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2020 NRL Round 15 Preview, Rabbitohs Vs Sea Eagles

Matt Pritchard previews the blockbuster Saturday night clash involving the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly Sea Eagles. This is what we have to look forward to.

FORM LINE

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Last weekend’s victory on full-time against North Queensland in Townsville was good on two counts. It created a four point buffer between eighth and ninth and additionally improved their away record in 2020 to three wins from eight matches. The Rabbitohs have won their last three, starting with their Thursday night win against St George-Illawarra at Jubilee and followed by wins over the Broncos and Cowboys. They would be happy with the lead in to this game, and reasonably happy with the minimal injuries to key players heading into the back end of 2020.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

It’s all been about Manly’s horror run with injuries, which has seen them lose touch with the top eight. Last week Brendan Elliot was added to the list that includes Tom Trbojevic, Dylan Walker, Manese Fainu, and Addin Fonua-Blake. Since getting the better of Parramatta in Round 10, the side has only recorded one additional win, that being against the Cowboys in Round 11 in Townsville. Last weekend’s heartbreaking loss in Newcastle saw the Sea Eagles drop to tenth spot, with a points differential of -50. Not an ideal situation to be in with six games remaining.

SQUAD NEWS

South Sydney Rabbitohs

A forced change for the South Sydney Rabbitohs following the suspension of Liam Knight for his dangerous contact on North Queensland Cowboys forward Jordan McLean. Bayley Sironen will take his place in the side. Jack Johns will move onto the bench. Ex-Panther Jed Cartwright is on the extended bench.

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1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Keaon Koloamatangi 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jack Johns 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Corey Allan 20. Troy Dargan 21. Kurt Dillon.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Another setback for Manly, with stand-in fullback Brendan Elliot picking up an ACL injury in his side’s loss to Newcastle last week at McDonald Jones Stadium. Reuben Garrick moves to the back, with Jorge Taufua recalled after a mystery axing last weekend.

1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Tevita Funa 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Haumole Olakau’atu 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Abbas Miski 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Addin Fonua-Blake.

KEY STAT

These sides have met 10 times at ANZ Stadium, with South Sydney winning six of 10. The most dramatic game took place in the NRL finals series last year, where South Sydney scraped home 34-26 thanks to Cam Murray’s brace. It was a night where Cody Walker, Brad Parker, and Jake Trbojevic spent time in the sin-bin.

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Could Adam Reynolds be the difference between the two sides? Incredibly, he’s scored 110 points in matches between the two sides since 2000: just 12 points shy of Jamie Lyon’s 122 points.

Johnston might be one of the key players for the Rabbitohs, with eight tries in 10 matches between the two sides.

BATTLE TO WATCH

Moses Suli vs Campbell Graham

Given the nature of Manly’s desperation to win and stay in touch with the eight, this might be the game where Moses Suli unleashes. He sits in second behind Addin-Fonua Blake for the most run metres at the club and is well overdue to bag a couple of tries. Manly fans saw signs of Suli taking it up to the Knights forwards last week. Maybe he could be the player to expose a tiring Rabbitohs defence?

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Suli comes up against Campbell Graham. He’s been a little off his best in 2020 with just four tries in 13 outings after scoring 14 last season. However, he does play on the inside of Alex Johnson and South Sydney do favour playing to his side. Defensively, if Suli decides to take on the defence out wide, it could be a tough night for Graham: he is by far the most vulnerable in defence, having missed 32 tackles this season.

GAME DETAILS

All signs lead to South Sydney continuing a good run against Manly at ANZ Stadium, in addition to the Sea Eagles losing their last three matches. However, expect the visitors to be up to the challenge considering their unlucky loss in Newcastle last weekend. Manly might just sneak home in another close encounter.

Manly Sea Eagles by six.

Date: Saturday July 22
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick-off: 7:35pm

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