Lachlan Jeffery previews the vital clash between South Sydney and North Queensland.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Venue: Accor Stadium
Date: Saturday 27 August, 7:35pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Hame Sele 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Siliva Havili 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Blake Taaffe 19. Taane Milne 20. Davvy Moale 21. Jed Cartwright 22. Michael Chee Kam
Izaac Thompson returns on the wing in place of Jaxson Paulo, with Hame Sele starting in place of Daniel Suluka-Fifita. Kodi Nikorima and Thomas Burgess have both been named to return from injury from the interchange bench.Embed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Tom Gilbert 15. Coen Hess 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Tomas Chester 20. Jake Granville 21. Riley Price 22. Ben Condon
Scott Drinkwater will move to five-eighth with Tom Dearden out after rupturing a testicle. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow will take Drinkwater’s place at fullback. Tom Gilbert will return via the interchange, with Luciano Leilua retaining his spot in the back row.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
This is a massive game for both teams in terms of ladder positions. If the Rabbitohs win, they guarantee themselves a top 8 and remain a chance of getting a home elimination final in week one of the finals. The Cowboys must win to remain second and in the box seat for a home qualifying final in the opening week of the finals.
The Rabbitohs enter the game with a 9-day turnaround following their loss to the Panthers and are aiming to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since the opening two rounds of the season. The Cowboys bounced back to form with a big win over the Warriors last weekend but have lost three of their past four games against top 8 sides.
The Rabbitohs have won the past six matches between the two sides since 2018, however three of them were decided by only one point. The Cowboys have won the past two matches between the two sides at Accor Stadium and have won seven of the past nine matches there against all opponents, but haven’t played at the venue since round 2, 2020.
South Sydney’s strong form has coincided with the return of Latrell Mitchell, and he looks like the key for them again. The Cowboys will need Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to step up at fullback, with Scott Drinkwater moving into the halves in the absence of Tom Dearden.
This will be the first time the two teams have met at Accor Stadium since round 6, 2015. They were due to meet at the venue last year, however the game was moved to Newcastle due to Sydney’s Covid-19 lockdown. Souths have also taken three home games against the Cowboys to Cairns and one to Brisbane for Magic Round.
Cowboys by 2
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