Mark Barnes previews the blockbuster Super Saturday clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Melbourne Storm at Accor Stadium.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Melbourne Storm
Venue: Accor Stadium
Date: Saturday July 23, 7:35pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Jed Cartwright 4. Isaiah Tass 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. Davvy Moale 16. Siliva Havili 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 19. Josh Mansour 20. Richard Kennar 21. Ben Lovett 22. Blake Taaffe
Both Damien Cook and Cameron Murray return after playing in Origin 3 and missing the round 18 clash. Interestingly the Rabbitohs have opted to move Jed Cartwright to centre who has been used in the back row this year.Embed from Getty Images
Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Tyran Wishart 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Grant Anderson 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Alec MacDonald 17. Jordan Grant 18. Chris Lewis 19. Cooper Johns 20. Young Tonumaipea 21. Tom Eisenhuth 22. Sualauvi Faalogo
Nick Meaney will take over at Fullback for the injured Ryan Papenhuyzen while Tyran Wishart who was rumoured to be in the mix for the number 1 jersey, comes in on the wing. Felise Kafusi’s return will help strengthen the Storms pack and in the only other change Grant Anderson is added in jersey 14.
Referee: Todd Smith
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are seemingly hitting their straps just in time for the latter stage of the season, which is the exact opposite of what can be said about the Melbourne Storm.
Encouragingly for the Rabbitohs, they have now won 5 of their last 6 matches and 3 in a row spearheaded by arguably career best form from Latrell Mitchell.
Fresh off a 36-28 thriller over the Bulldogs, Souths host the Storm, who just lost 20-16 v the Canberra Raiders.
That marks the Storm’s third consecutive loss – the first time that’s occurred since 2015.
The biggest damage of the Raiders loss for the Storm though, has come in the form of an injury with star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen fracturing his kneecap which resulted in season ending surgery.
It was a bitter blow for a Storm side who has now dropped out of the top four with a loss to the Rabbitohs putting them in real danger of finishing as low as seventh.
Conversely, a Rabbitohs win will see them move into the top 4 potentially, something that seemed improbable even a month ago.
Both teams will be up for this contest with a lot on the line for both clubs and it’s going to be a match determined by spines.
The Rabbitohs, led by Latrell, have also enjoyed a nice return to form from Cody Walker in the past couple of games and they will have Damien Cook returning after resting during the Origin period.
The Rabbitohs star spine trio will be up against a Storm side missing their fullback but still presenting a juggernaut of match winners in Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and Harry Grant who when in form, can not only match the Rabbitohs firepower but just about any team’s spine in the competition.
This match projects as a litmus test for both sides and it should be an absolute blockbuster with so much on the line and arguably two of the competitions form players going head-to-head in Munster and Mitchell.
The result will tell us a lot about the Storm and Rabbitohs for 2022 and perhaps shape the run to the finals for either side in a pivotal clash.Embed from Getty Images
The Melbourne Storm has won its last 5 games against South Sydney along with 9 out of 10 first halves in their past matchups.
Storm by 4
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