2021 NRL Round 17 Preview, Rabbitohs Vs Cowboys

Christopher Rooney previews the lone Friday night game, with South Sydney hosting North Queensland. This is what we have to look forward to.

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Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, Date: Friday July 9, Time: 7:55pm

Rabbitohs Team

1. Blake Taaffe
2. Alex Johnston
3. Braidon Burns
4. Campbell Graham
5. Taane Milne
6. Cody Walker
7. Adam Reynolds (c)
8. Mark Nicholls
9. Benji Marshall
10. Thomas Burgess
11. Keaon Koloamatangi
12. Jaydn Su’A
13. Hame Sele
14. Liam Knight
15. Jacob Host
16. Patrick Mago
17. Peter Mamouzelos
18. Josh Mansour
19. Jaxson Paulo
20. Tautau Moga
21. Davvy Moale

Team Changes

IN: Blake Taaffe, Davvy Moale, Jaxson Paulo, Jaydn Su’A. Josh Mansour, Patrick Mago, Peter Mamouzelos, Tautau Moga
OUT: Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Dane Gagai, Jai Arrow, Latrell Mitchell

Cowboys Team

1. Daejarn Asi
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Javid Bowen
4. Connelly Lemuelu
5. Murray Taulagi
6. Scott Drinkwater
7. Tom Dearden
8. Coen Hess
9. Reece Robson
10. Jordan McLean
11. Shane Wright
12. Mitchell Dunn
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Jake Granville
15. Tom Gilbert
16. Lachlan Burr
17. Heilum Luki
18. Peter Hola
19. Michael Bell
20. Ben Condon
21. Kane Bradley

Team Changes

IN: Ben Condon, Connelly Lemuelu, Kane Bradley, Michael Bell, Peter Hola, Tom Gilbert
OUT: Francis Molo, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Valentine Holmes

Referee: Matt Cecchin



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The Rabbitohs last week looked like they were going to score 50+ on the Tigers. Their first half was brilliant, but their second half still raises many questions.

With a number of players out due to Origin, the Rabbitohs field an interesting team this week. Halfback Blake Taaffe has been named at fullback this week while Braidon Burns will return at centre.

In the forwards, Hame Sele has been named at lock and Thomas Burgess will start back in the front row. Jaydn Su’A has been brought back into the team and will start in the back row, while Benji Marshall has been named to start at dummy half.

The Rabbitohs have a number of new faces on the bench, including Patrick Mago and Peter Mamouzelos, who will no doubt spend a bit more time in the middle this game.

The Rabbitohs go into this match on a four-game win streak and currently have won eight from eight games against all teams that currently sit outside the top eight this season.


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After an embarrassing performance in Newcastle last week, the Cowboys return to McDonald Jones Stadium to face a South Sydney side full of confidence. Daejar Asi has been named at fullback and Connolly Lemuelu has been named in the centres.

Coen Hess is once again named to start in the front with Lachlan Burr to start off the bench, along with Tom Gillbert.

The Cowboys go into this match on a three-game losing streak.


The Rabbitohs will go into this match without Jai Arrow, Damian Cook, Dane Gagai, Latrell Mitchell, and Cameron Murrary due to Origin duties. Yet, they still have been able to name a strong team despite the amount of strike missing due to Origin.

On the flip side, the Cowboys will go into this match without Valentine Holmes, Francis Molo, and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow due to Origin duties. The loss of Holmes at the back will hurt the Cowboys as not only is he their number one choice at fullback, but he also kicks goals.

Between the two sides, the Rabbitohs will without question be playing finals football, and with the Cowboys that may be a completely different story.

Still, as a team, the Cowboys are inconsistent and will be heavily relying on the kicking games of Scott Drinkwater and Thomas Dearden to keep them into the contest.

Even without the great footwork and ball playing of Murray, the Rabbitohs boast a far more superior forward back to the Cowboys and should easily win the battle in the middle.


Head-to-head: both sides have faced each other 35 times, with both sides winning 17 games each and only the one draw. The previous two meetings have seen the Rabbitohs winning, with the last match only decided by a point.


With Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds playing for the Rabbitohs, I expect nothing but a South Sydney victory. The two crafty playermakers have been doing this long enough and will be able to guide the team around the park. I do believe the Cowboys will play a lot better than last week, and given the Rabbitohs usually drop off in the second half, expect a closer game.

Rabbitohs 1-12.  

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