Lachlan Jeffery previews Saturday night’s match between South Sydney and Manly.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: Accor Stadium
Date: Saturday March 25, 7:35pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jacob Host 13. Cameron Murray 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Michael Chee Kam 16. Davvy Moale 17. Jed Cartwright 18. Ben Lovett 19. Dean Hawkins 20. Tallis Duncan 21. Taane Milne 22. Peter Mamouzelos
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Josh Aloiai 14. Kaeo Weekes 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Sean Keppie 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Cooper Johns 20. Morgan Harper 21. Karl Lawton 22. Ben Condon
Referee: Chris SuttonEmbed from Getty Images
The Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs head into Saturday night’s clash at Accor Stadium with vastly different stories. While the Sea Eagles have virtually a full squad available and have won both their games, the Rabbitohs are coming off back-to-back defeats and have been decimated by injury in the forwards.
The Rabbitohs have been forced into three changes from the side that lost to the Roosters in Round 3, with Tevita Tatola and Shaquai Mitchell out after suffering a knee and foot injury respectively, along with Hame Sele – who became the first player to be ruled out under the NRL’s new 11-day concussion stand down protocols. Jacob Host makes a timely return from a calf injury in the back row, while Daniel Suluka-Fifita has been named to start in the front row with Tom Burgess.
For Manly, coach Anthony Seibold has the luxury of naming the same 17 that defeated Parramatta in Round 3, with Taniela Paseka and Josh Aloiai only receiving fines for grade one offences.
The Rabbitohs may have lost two of their first three games, however they’ve been far from disgraced in those losses, beaten by four points by the Panthers in Penrith and losing away to the Roosters by two points. Manly started the season with a thumping victory over the Bulldogs at home, before holding out Parramatta in a high-scoring thriller after the bye.
This will be the Rabbitohs’ first home game of the year and they will be looking to maintain their strong record at Accor Stadium, having won 14 of their past 18 games at the venue. The Sea Eagles enter their first away game of the year looking to overcome their poor record at Accor Stadium, having lost 12 of their past 13 there. They’ve also lost their past five straight against Souths at the venue, last beating the Rabbitohs at the venue in the 2013 preliminary final. They’ve also lost their past six games against Souths at all venues. This match will also mark the first time Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic have played against each other since Round 24, 2018.
With two strong attacking teams, defence will be crucial in deciding the winner. South Sydney have kept their opponents’ scores relatively low in their two losses, while Manly have yet to be challenged by a strong defensive team. If the Sea Eagles allow the Rabbitohs to score as many points as the Eels did, they’re unlikely to win.
LAST TEN MATCHES
Rabbitohs 8, Sea Eagles 2
Sea Eagles by four points.
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