NRL Preview Round 25: Knights Vs Rabbitohs

The out-of-form Rabbitohs will travel to Newcastle to face the red hot Knights in what could be a season defining match for both clubs’ 2023 premiership hopes.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Newcastle Knights Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Date: Sunday August 20, 2:00pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Dylan Lucas 19. Enari Tuala 20. Adam Clune 21. Brodie Jones 22. Jack Johns

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Jai Arrow 9. Damien Cook 10. Shaquai Mitchell 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jacob Host 13. Cameron Murray 14. Tallis Duncan 15. Michael Chee Kam 16. Siliva Havili 17. Davvy Moale 18. Tyrone Munro 19. Hame Sele 20. Peter Mamouzelos 21. Tevita Tatola 22. Dean Hawkins

Referee: Grant Atkins

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MATCHDAY PREVIEW

The Knights host the South Sydney Rabbitohs at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the match of the round and certainly one with large finals implications. These teams sit seventh and eighth on the table respectively, with the losers potentially outside of the eight at the end of the round, and under extreme pressure to get wins from the remaining games left.

The Knights are riding a six-match winning streak after demolishing the Dogs once again, and are virtually at full strength, with Bradman Best returning and Jackson Hastings named to start despite suffering what looked to be a serious injury last week.

The Knights also showed last week they are more than simply Kalyn Ponga, with everyone chipping in to easily account for the Bulldogs 42-6. Whilst Ponga laid on a classy try, he wasn’t as dominant as he has been in recent months, and the rest of the spine stood up and equally took command of the game. The outside men continued to bamboozle the opposition, with Dane Gagai arguably in career-best form. The dumped QLD Origin representative centre bagging a try, two line breaks, and an astonishing 11 tackle breaks in an untouchable performance. He will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing his former club.

The Rabbitohs have been road warriors in recent times, having played in three different states over the past three weeks, and once again are away from home with a trip up the highway before a well-earned bye. It would be a worry for coach Jason Demetriou that the travel may be catching up with his team, culminating in a huge danger game this round. With five losses from their last eight, form has been a concern, but they have a settled 17 with Michael Chee Kam joining the interchange ahead of Ben Lovett.

The Dragons were competitive in much of last round’s match against the Rabbitohs, and late in the arm wrestle were still a chance of causing a boilover. It was a match where South Sydney completed a meagre 63% of possessions and, along with 16 errors, it was a complacent and disappointing showing. They will need a stark improvement if they are to match it with a Knights team that has averaged 80% completion and 38 points per game across their current six-game winning streak.

Whilst Cody Walker, Damien Cook, and Cameron Murray are always important cogs in the Rabbitohs’ machine, like always, the level of success will come down to talented fullback Latrell Mitchell. Once again we saw flashes from Mitchell last week, his third game back from a long lay off with injury. However he’s yet to dominate a game for 80 minutes and put the Rabbits on his back like he did so many times last season in a run of the best form in his career. They may very well need him to do just that this week if they are going to come away with a much-needed win to secure their September footy ticket.

Strangely, despite their contrasting forms, the Rabbitohs come into this as clear favourites. In the headline act of the round it does seem a tough one to predict, but if the South Sydney Rabbitohs dish up what they have been post Origin, it’s going to be the Novocastrians eating rabbit stew for dinner on Sunday.

LAST TEN MATCHES

Rabbitohs 8, Knights 2

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Knights by eight points.

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