Nathan Smith previews the round 16 clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Parramatta Eels. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Parramatta Eels
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Date: Saturday 2nd July, 7:35pm (local)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Campbell Graham 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Thomas Burgess 16. Siliva Havili 17. Hame Sele 18. Blake Taaffe 19. Isaiah Tass 20. Liam Knight 21. Ben Lovett 22. Davvy Moale
The Rabbitohs welcome back their superstar Latrell Mitchell for the first time since round five. With his return, Kodi Nikorima reverts back to the bench while Blake Taaffe goes to the reserves. All Origin representatives have been named and are expected to play. The only other change sees Mark Nicholls start at prop for Thomas Burgess, who has been named on the bench.Embed from Getty Images
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Marata Niukore 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Ky Rodwell 18. Tom Opacic 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Nathan Brown 21. Bryce Cartwright 22. Hayze Perham
The Eels have named the same side that defeated the Sydney Roosters in round 15. All of their representative players have been named and are expected to play.
Referee: Ben Cummins
The NRL season has less than ten rounds left. That means that the teams that are either in the eight, or close to it, need to begin to time their run towards the 2022 finals series.
The 2021 runners-up, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, would not have imagined they’d be in the position they’re currently in a year after nearly winning the big one. The loss of Adam Reynolds was significant, however, to be in the bottom of the top eight and a loss away from dropping out would be disappointing.
The Eels, who seem to have a top-eight spot all but locked away, are in a battle to finish either third or fourth. They have not made the top four since the 2020 season and would be raring to this year, knowing it allows them an instant crack at a spot in the preliminary final, a stage they haven’t reached since their fabled 2009 season.
When we last saw the Rabbitohs, they were on the receiving end of a huge score against the Dragons. It was a match they were expected to win. The Eels’ results have similarly resembled that at times, however, they come into this game on the back of arguably one of their best performances of the year against the Sydney Roosters.
It’s not hard for one to determine who might influence this match for the Rabbitohs. Their superstar Latrell Mitchell returns and will be fired up, especially with the possibility of an Origin recall on the cards. The simple fact is that if he finds his best straight away, the Eels will need to put in a special effort to contain him. However, the question is whether his fitness will be up to scratch.
For the Eels, they need more of the grit that they demonstrated two weeks ago. Too often they go through patches of soft defence and a weak mindset coming into games. If they want to win a premiership in 2022, the run has to start now.Embed from Getty Images
- The Rabbitohs have won their past four matches against the Eels. All of these have been huge scores.
- The Eels haven’t defeated the Rabbitohs since back in 2019, which at the time, was a weakened squad due to State of Origin.
- These two sides have played each other at Accor Stadium on 18 occasions. Of these, the Rabbitohs have won 12.
Parramatta Eels 1-12
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