Full Time
7:50pm Thu July 30, 2020
Round 12 - Netstrata Jubilee Stadium - Crowd: 2719

Round 12: Dragons v Rabbitohs preview

Sydney rivals push for a place in the top eight.

Sitting outside the top eight in 11th and 10th respectively, the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be looking to remain in touch with the finals race when they clash at Kogarah on Thursday evening.

Falling just short 28-24 to Cronulla "away from home" last Saturday, the St George Illawarra Dragons will return to Kogarah determined to arrest a poor run of form against their opponents.

Managing just two wins from their past ten clashes against the Rabbitohs, coach Paul McGregor will be stressing the importance of Thursday's clash with his side sitting four points outside the top eight and matches against the high-flying Roosters and Eels to follow in the next fortnight.

Losing halfback Adam Clune and veteran forward Trent Merrin to concussion, Ben Hunt will revert to the number seven jersey while Tariq Sims returns to the starting side after serving a one-match ban. Tristain Sailor will make his first appearance of the season after being named on the bench.

Adding to the stakes of Thursday night's clash, playmaker Corey Norman will celebrate his 200th appearance in the NRL, while prop Blake Lawrie will play his 50th game for the club.

Squandering a halftime lead to go down 18-12 to the Raiders last Saturday, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be looking to use Thursday night as the launch pad for a run towards the play-offs.

Sitting one win outside eighth position with a positive for-and-against differential in their favour, coach Wayne Bennett will be hoping his team can improve upon an underwhelming record at Kogarah that has seen the side manage two wins from their past six visits.

Gaining a welcome boost with Latrell Mitchell named at fullback following a two-match suspension, Liam Knight and Patrick Mago come onto the bench in place of Jack Johns and Hame Sele.

Last meeting: Round 19 2019 - Rabbitohs 20 Dragons 16

Who to watch: Bringing up 200 appearances in the top grade on Thursday night, Dragons playmaker Corey Norman will be out to cap his milestone match with a win. Earning rave reviews as a teenager on debut a decade ago, the 29-year-old has shown immense talent across stints with Brisbane, Parramatta and St George Illawarra throughout the 2010s culminating in an Origin debut for Queensland in last year's decider. Capable of nailing a clutch play as the clock winds down, Norman has revelled in the responsibility of being the side's dominant playmaker while retaining a potent running game that has yielded tries in two of his past three matches.

Returning to the Rabbitohs ranks after serving a two-match ban for striking, Latrell Mitchell will be out to make up for lost time during Indigenous round. Following in the footsteps of Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt and Eric Simms as Indigenous greats of the club, the 23-year-old Biripi and Wiradjuri game-breaker has grown into the fullback role since coming under scrutiny for his involvement prior to the COVID-19 suspension. Averaging a try-assist and 100 metres per game since the season resumption, Mitchell looms as a key man for the Rabbitohs as they look to continue a strong run of form against the joint venture.

The favourite: With both teams sitting outside the top eight, the return of Latrell Mitchell has the Rabbitohs as slight favourites.

My tip: While both teams will be viewing Thursday night as a must-win for their finals hopes, the attacking flair shown by the Dragons in recent weeks should get them over the line. Dragons by 6.