Round 12: South Sydney v Parramatta preview
Heavyweights look to get back in the winner's circle.
South Sydney will play the Parramatta Eels on Saturday night and both teams are coming off the back of losses.
Souths, following their second drubbing in three weeks, conceded another shocking amount of points, with Penrith piling 56 on them in Dubbo.
The Eels were on the wrong end of an ugly score line themselves, going down 28-6 to the high-flying Sea Eagles. Both sides will be looking to prove that they are genuine title contenders despite a few hiccups, so this one should be a big one.
In team news, Wayne Bennett has dropped Josh Mansour again with Taane Milne coming in on the wing. Jai Arrow starts at prop and in a huge in, lock Cameron Murray has been named to start. Tom Burgess goes back to the bench and Liam Knight is out. Jacob Host also comes in to start at second row in place of Jaydn Su'a.
Parramatta players will take confidence from the faith their coach has shown despite last weekend's big loss.
Who to watch: Latrell Mitchell failed to fire in his return from suspension last weekend. He will be looking to rediscover early season form that saw him leading the Dally-M count.
If he can produce anything similar, Parramatta could have some defensive headaches coming their way that will be difficult to contain.
Without Campbell-Gillard in the side this week, look for NSW Origin hopeful Junior Paulo to step up in his absence.
Paulo will have to take on an extra workload and as a representative forward, he needs to help carry the team on his back. If he can get the better of the South Sydney forwards, he will help his side come out over the top.
The favourite: Following the Souths thrashing last weekend, the Eels are favourites to win this one.
My tip: The Eels are shaping up as favourites, but when faced with challenging opponents so far this year, they have struggled to come away with the win. Souths will be desperate to beat a top 4 team after being badly beaten by the top 2 already this year.
Further, on paper, it looks like South Sydney have the better team and I'll back them to come out over the top. South Sydney by 8.