Full Time
7:35pm Sat July 20, 2019
Round 18 - 1300SMILES Stadium - Crowd: 16638

Round 18: Cowboys v Rabbitohs preview

Desperate Cowboys look to keep September dream alive against Rabbitohs

A week is a long time in rugby league. It's a cliché for a reason.

Too often it proves true and that was the case for Paul Green's Cowboys who only last week were rated next to no chance of playing finals football in 2019.

They had dropped three-straight games and were preparing to face the defending premiers.

Making matters worse, repeated concussions saw Michael Morgan ruled out of the must-win game against the Roosters.

They stepped up big time. All of their starting forwards ran for over 100 metres while Jake Clifford scored a try and kicked the match-sealing field goal.

Now they sit just one win outside of the eight.

But things don't get any easier against the Rabbitohs, who will still be desperate to shore up their place in the top four.

In team news, Jordan Kahu (eye socket) is replaced by debutant Murray Taulagi.

Morgan is a chance of making his return though after being named in the reserves.

Meanwhile, Sam Burgess is still out indefinitely for the Rabbitohs, meaning none of the Burgess brothers will feature in Saturday's match.

While it wasn't the most convincing of victories, South Sydney snapped a four-game losing streak last week with a 21-20 win over Manly.

Without the Burgess trio, the pressure will be on the Rabbitohs big men to step up once more against a formidable North Queensland pack.

They did well to contain Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake early last week and will need to be just as strong this time against the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Jordan McLean.

Last meeting: Round 9 2019 - Rabbitohs 32 Cowboys 16

Who to watch: Two big forward packs collide on Saturday night and the result will hinge on which side takes advantage of the go-forward best.

Both Damien Cook and Jake Granville have proven themselves to be very good at this in the past, capitalising on quick play-the-balls to pick up easy metres.

Cook has been the more consistent threat in recent years but perhaps he will bring the best out of Granville on Saturday, challenging the Cowboys rake to back himself and take the line on even more.

The favourite: The Rabbitohs are slight favourites here.

My tip: The Cowboys will push them right until the end but Souths will hang on. Rabbitohs by 4.