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2021 NRL Round 22 Preview, Rabbitohs Vs Titans

Joshua Knox previews the clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday afternoon at CBUS Super Stadium. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: CBUS Stadium, Date: 14/8, Time: 3pm

Rabbitohs Team

1. Latrell Mitchell
2. Josh Mansour
3. Dane Gagai
4. Taane Milne
5. Jaxson Paulo
6. Cody Walker
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Mark Nicholls
9. Damien Cook
10. Thomas Burgess
11. Keaon Koloamatangi
12. Jai Arrow
13. Cameron Murray
14. Benji Marshall
15. Jacob Host
16. Tevita Tatola
17. Jaydn Su’A
18. Braidon Burns
19. Patrick Mago
20. Hame Sele
21. Blake Taaffe

Team Changes

IN: Blake Taafe, Hame Sele, Patrick Mago
OUT:

Titans Team

1. Alexander Brimson
2. Greg Marzhew
3. Brian Kelly
4. Patrick Herbert
5. Corey Thompson
6. Ashley Taylor
7. Toby Sexton
8. Jarrod Wallace
9. Mitch Rein
10. Moeaki Fotuaika
11. Kevin Proctor
17. Beau Fermor
13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
12. David Fifita
14. Tyrone Peachey
15. Sam Lisone
16. Jaimin Jolliffe
18. Erin Clark
19. Sam McIntyre
20. Esan Marsters
21. Jamal Fogarty

Team Changes

IN: Jamal Fogarty, Sam McIntyre, Tyrone Peachey
OUT:

Referee: Adam Gee

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Rabbitohs

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The Rabbitohs enter this clash full of confidence as they are currently on a nine round winning streak. The most recent of those would be the one that pleases Wayne Bennett the most as they knocked off fellow top four side the Parramatta Eels 40-12. In doing so, halfback Adam Reynolds became the clubs leading point scorer of all time passing Eric Simms as he kicked 8/9.

Souths have the luxury of naming the same 17, although are still without the strike power of outside backs Campbell Graham (concussion) and Alex Johnston (hamstring). In saying that, the replacements have not looked out of place with Josh Mansour crossing for five tries in his three matches back in the line-up. With clashes against the Panthers and the Roosters over the next two weeks, this shapes as a must win if they want a top two finish.

Titans

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The Gold Coast are cruising along nicely after three straight wins have left them in seventh position in a hotly contested battle for the bottom two positions of the top eight. In saying that, the three wins have been against the Dragons, Bulldogs and Cowboys who have all struggled this season. This will be a true test of the sides credentials as they face the Rabbitohs this week and the top of the table Storm next week and losing both could spell the end of their season.

Justin Holbrook has named Tyrone Peachey to return with his return pushing Erin Clark to the reserves list. Million dollar man David Fifita has warmed the pine for the opening of the last three clashes before entering the clashes after 20-25 minutes. It will be interesting to see if Holbrook implements the same strategy against the Rabbitohs, who if they fire early, could write the game off before Fifita even takes the field. The Titans need to prove they are a finals bound team by pushing the Rabbitohs in this one.

PREVIEW

The Rabbitohs are averaging 41.5 points per game over their nine match unbeaten run and averaging 50 points per game over the past three matches. On the flip side, the Titans defence has been shaky all seasons letting in a tick shy of 25 points per game. They have only conceded 30 points over their three game win streak, has their defence improved or were their opponents poor in attack?

The unsung hero for the Rabbitohs shapes as Cameron Murray. Murray has scored a try in each of his last four matches and has been a major contributor to the teams attack with his ball playing ability as a middle forward. Cody Walker leads the league with 28 try assists and fullback Latrell Mitchell has 13 to his name. It would be interesting to look back and see how many of those have come off a Murray pass. The key for the Titans, put pressure on the number 13.

The injury to captain Jamal Fogarty against Parramatta had fans of the Titans beginning to think about next season as they looked likely to miss finals yet again. Fast forward three weeks and the emergence of young halfback Toby Sexton steering the ship and Ashley Taylor playing for his future, the Titans look in the box seat to feature in the finals series. Sexton has looked cool, calm and collected after his first three matches compiling two try assists and grabbing one of his own as he looks to cement the position as his own for the remainder of the season at least.

The Titans are playing with a new found confidence and have looked sharp over the past few weeks. The Rabbits shape as a completely different proposition however and it will give the Titans an opportunity to see how far off the mark they really are. If the Titans are to cause an upset over one of the competition favourites, it will need to be a big day out for the forward pack of the Gold Coast allowing Taylor and Sexton to play off the back of some quick play the balls. If the Rabbitohs come out firing, expect them to put a score on the Titans.

KEY STAT

The clubs faced off in round seven of this season with the Rabbitohs hopping away with a 40-30 win on the Coast. A first half David Fifita hat-trick had the Titans out to a 24-10 half time lead. What followed was an onslaught from the Bunnies with Benji Marshall grabbing a double and some ill discipline gifting Adam Reynolds two penalty goals at the death to seal the deal. Dane Gagai has scored three tries in his last two matches against the Titans and he will look to continue his scoring run on Saturday afternoon.

PREDICTION

The Titans need to keep winning to have their finals hopes in their own hands. The Rabbits have been unstoppable over the last nine weeks and expect them to prove too classy for a desperate Titans outfit.

Rabbitohs by 4.

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