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2021 NRL Round 23 Preview, Panthers Vs Rabbitohs

Jem Nash previews this mouth watering battle between the Panthers and Rabbitohs. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 20/8, Time: 8:05pm AEST

Panthers Team

1. Dylan Edwards
2. Stephen Crichton
3. Paul Momirovski
4. Matt Burton
5. Brent Naden
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Moses Leota
9. Apisai Koroisau
10. Matthew Eisenhuth
11. Viliame Kikau
12. Liam Martin
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Mitch Kenny
15. Scott Sorensen
16. J’maine Hopgood
17. Kurt Capewell
18. Izack Tago
19. Tevita Pangai Jr
20. Taylan May
21. James Fisher-Harris

Team Changes

IN: Apisai Koroisau, James Fisher-Harris, Kurt Capewell, Tevita Pangai Jr
OUT: Jaeman Salmon

Rabbitohs Team

1. Latrell Mitchell
2. Alex Johnston
3. Dane Gagai
4. Campbell Graham
5. Josh Mansour
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. Hame Sele
18. Taane Milne
19. Patrick Mago
20. Blake Taaffe
21. Jadyn Su’A

Team Changes

IN: Alex Johnston, Blake Taaffe, Campbell Graham, Dane Gagai, Hame Sele
OUT:
Braidon Burns, Jaxson Paulo

Referee: Grant Atkins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Panthers

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Kurt Capewell and Apisai Koroisau return to the team, with Mitch Kenny dropping back onto the bench and Izack Tago in the reserves. James Fisher-Harris and Tevita Pangai Jr have both been named in the reserves and are big chances to come into the first 17. The Panthers have slowly been finding their feet and with Nathan Cleary back last week they looked strong in a 34-16 win over the Dragons. Almost back to full strength, they face a massive test in the Rabbitohs as both sides look to keep in touch with the top of the table Storm.

Rabbitohs

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Alex Johnston and Dane Gagai both return from injury while Campbell Graham is also back from concussion protocol. The Rabbitohs come into this clash on the back of 10 straight win, their last loss a 56-12 demolition at the hands of the Panthers. Since then, they have looked nearly unstoppable and are right back in the frame as premiership contenders. Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell have been leading the way as the Rabbitohs have scored 30 or more points in eight of their last 10 matches.

PREVIEW

Based on recent form, the Rabbitohs may come into this clash as slight favourites. The Panthers have struggled without Cleary, but their attack looked much better with him back in the side last week. With one game under his belt, expect Cleary to take it to another level in this important match.

For the Rabbitohs, Walker has been in arguably career best form this season, in particular over the last couple of months. He leads the competition in try assists with 31 this year, including a massive 23 assists through the last 10 games. Walker, combined with Reynolds’ premier kicking game and Latrell Mitchell’s always dangerous running game and the Rabbitohs are incredibly difficult to beat.

For the Panthers to come away with the win, their defence will be key. They currently have the best defence in the competition, only conceding a total of 252 points. If they can keep the Rabbitohs attack in check, they have enough weapons to score against a defence that has allowed 400 points this season.

KEY STAT

The Panthers hold a good record against the Rabbitohs in recent years, winning five of their last six matches.

PREDICTION

This is the match of the round. The Panthers have been slowly regaining their best form but the Rabbitohs just have too many weapons all over the field. It’ll be incredibly close but the Rabbitohs should just edge the Panthers out.

Rabbitohs by 2

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