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2021 NRL Round Nine Preview, Rabbitohs Vs Storm

Chris Rooney previews the clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Melbourne Storm. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney Date: Thursday May 6, Time: 7:50pm

Rabbitohs Team

1. Alex Johnston
2. Steven Marsters
3. Dane Gagai
4. Braidon Burns
5. Taane Milne
6. Cody Walker
7. Benji Marshall
8. Thomas Burgess
9. Damien Cook
10. Tevita Tatola
11. Keaon Koloamatangi
12. Jaydn Su’A
13. Jai Arrow
14. Mark Nicholls
15. Liam Knight
16. Jacob Host
17. Patrick Mago
18. Jed Cartwright
19. Hame Sele
20. Troy Dargan
21. Dean Hawkins

Team Changes

IN: Braidon Burns, Dean Hawkins, Hame Sele, Jed Cartwight, Taane Milne, Tevita Tatola, Troy Dargan.
OUT: Adam Reynolds, Cameron Murray, Campbell Graham, Jackson Paulo.

Storm Team

1. Nicho Hynes
2. George Jennings
3. Reimis Smith
4. Justin Olam
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Cameron Munster
7. Jahrome Hughes
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Harry Grant
10. Christian Welch
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Kenneath Bromwich
13. Brandon Smith
14. Dale Finucane
15. Tui Kamikamica
16. Tom Eisenhuth
17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
18. Dean Ieremia
19. Chris Lewis
20. Ryley Jacks
21. Aaron Pene

Team Changes

IN: Aaron Pene, George Jennings, Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
OUT: n/a.

Referee: Grant Atkins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Rabbitohs

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The Rabbitohs are facing a host of major changes going into this match. Their backline is heavily impacted with Adam Reynolds, Campbell Graham and Jaxson Paulo all out. Reynolds and Graham are expected to miss a number of games, so expect Walker to play fullback against the Storm this week. Braidon Burns will make his comeback after a tough injury last season and will be looking to keep his place in the starting back line going forward. Cameron Murray will also miss this match after an ankle injury last Thursday night and will be heavily missed for his quick play-the-ball. With all the changes to the squad, the Rabbitohs remain one of the best teams in the NRL this season. They have won seven out of eight games (including seven straight victories) and will be looking to continue the win streak against a red-hot Storm outfit.

Storm

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After eight rounds, the Storm are the best attacking team in the NRL and are putting massive scorelines against many right now. They will look to continue their brilliant form against a Rabbitohs side who have more than enough quality players out right now. The Storm will welcome back Nelson Asofa-Solomona and George Jennings this week, which are two huge inclusions for the Storm. Harry Grant will start at dummy-half once again with Brandon Smith to resume the lock forward role.

PREVIEW

The Rabbitohs’ outfit looks entirely different compared to the team that ran out against the Storm in round one this year. The only major change for the Storm is still no Ryan Papenhuyzen; but apart from that, the Storm are looking as strong as ever. Even though they are undermanned right now, the Rabbitohs will not be intimidated by the Storm by any means. Damian Cook will need to step up his game massively to trouble the Storm and Benji Marshall will need to play the best game of the season to keep up with the brilliance of the Munster and Hughes.

The Rabbitohs still have an outstanding forward pack, even without Murray. Yet, the Storm can also boast that with their world class forward pack. The battle in the middle will be crucial to success of both teams and to determine if we are in for a high-scoring match or a low-scoring match.

KEY STAT

Head-to-head: both sides have faced each other 34 times, with the Storm winning 29 times. The previous two meetings have seen the Storm win both matches by six and eight points.

PREDICTION

Wayne Bennett will have his team up and ready for a match against the Storm, even with the amount of injuries to the side. The Storm will no doubt be expecting an ambush but the class of the Storm and Bellamy should see them continue their win streak and hand the Rabbitohs their second loss of the season. Don’t expect a blowout by the Storm as the Rabbitohs still have talent to keep up, but won’t be able to for the entire 80.

Storm by 1-12.

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