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2022 NRL Round 5 Preview, Rabbitohs Vs Dragons

Matt Pritchard previews the match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George-Illawarra Dragons to be played at Accor Stadium in Sydney.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs St George-Illawarra Dragons
Venue: Accor Stadium
Date: Saturday, April 9 2022, 5:30pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Campbell Graham 5. Josh Mansour 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Jacob Host 16. Davvy Moale 17. Liam Knight 18. Hame Sele 19. Isaiah Tass 20. Peter Mamouzelos 21. Richard Kennar 22. Dean Hawkins 23. Jaxson Paulo 24. Siliva Havili

The South Sydney Rabbitohs come into the match with one win from four matches, including their last up loss in the Grand Final rematch to the Penrith Panthers last round. The Rabbitohs have been forced into a change with Mark Nicholls on the sidelines with an ankle problem, replaced by Thomas Burgess in the starting side. Jaxson Paulo has been relegated to NSW Cup with veteran winger Josh Mansour. Davvy Moale is set for his second appearance in 2022 having been named on the bench.

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St George-Illawarra Dragons: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jack Bird 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Aaron Woods 11. Tariq Sims 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Talatau Amone 15. Josh Kerr 16. Blake Lawrie 17. Jackson Ford 18. Tautau Moga 19. George Burgess 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Tyrell Sloan 22. Daniel Alvaro 23. Poasa Faamausili 24. Jaiyden Hunt

The St George-Illawarra Dragons like their counterparts have started the season with one win and three losses. Their loss against the Eels by 48-14 their poorest performance so far. Aaron Woods returns to the starting thirteen with Blake Lawrie to start from the bench. Jaydn Su’A is back from his suspension which means Jack Gosiewski drops out of the side.

Referee: Ben Cummins

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

Saturday night’s game between the Rabbitohs and Dragons might end up being the most important of the weekend.

South Sydney showed at times against the Penrith Panthers that they can open up the opposition through the middle, but their right-hand defence leaked points which would be a concern for coach Jason Demetriou.

This game could present Cody Walker with more time, and space to be creative. When he last faced the Dragons in round 20 last year, Walker scored one try and set up three others at the Rabbitohs won 50-14.

If Walker fires, expect Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell to impose their presence on the game after they were kept quiet in the Grand Final rematch last Friday night.

Cameron Murray continues his outstanding form as he relishes his promotion to captain this season.

Ultimately if South Sydney can handle the ball better, they’ll win. After four matches they have the highest error count with 56, slightly ahead of the Wests Tigers.

On the other side of the ledger a promising start for the Dragons with a first up win over the Warriors followed by a strong performance in going down to the Panthers, has been snuffed out with heavy losses to the Sharks and Eels in the past fortnight.

To be any chance of repeating February’s Charity Shield success in Mudgee, they Dragons need to be physical and aggressive in their defence and put pressure on the big guns from South Sydney. Should they fail in this department, South Sydney are likely to put a score on them.

There are a host of matchwinners in the Dragons side, but who will stand up? Will it be Ben Hunt with his kicking game, or Jack Bird with his aggressive defence and being hard to handle in attack?

It’s a tall order for the Dragons despite being level with the Rabbitohs on points. There seems to be a distinct difference in skill and commitment between the two sides.

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INTERESTING FACT

Since 2013, it’s been slim pickings for the St George-Illawarra Dragons in clashes against South Sydney, having just won three times in that period. If they are to overcome this record, they will need to stop dynamic Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker. Walker has scored 5 tries in his last four games against the Rabbitohs with his last game resulting in a huge 50-14 win at Suncorp Stadium in early August 2021.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Rabbitohs by 14.

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