Full Time
3:00pm Sat April 6, 2024
Round 5 - Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park / Wanngal - Crowd: 13184

Round 5: Rabbitohs v Warriors preview

Rob previews the upcoming meeting between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Warriors.

Last start winners look to keep the momentum rolling

The South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors will be eyeing off two crucial competition points on Saturday afternoon when they clash at Accor Stadium.

Relieving weeks of mounting pressure with a breakthrough win on Good Friday, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be hoping their fortunes continue by posting back-to-back victories for the first time since May last year. 

Making minimal changes from the side that prevailed 20-16 over the Bulldogs, coach Jason Demetriou has named Izaac Thompson on the wing in place of Alex Johnson (hamstring), while Sean Keppie earns a recall with Shaq Mitchell out due to concussion.

Holding an imposing record over the Warriors with 14 wins from 15 clashes dating back to 2013, the match will serve as the 50th club game for second-rower Jacob Host

Sitting on the precipice of the top eight with two wins and two losses over the opening month of the season, the New Zealand Warriors will be hoping to make Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's 200th NRL game one to remember.

Leading from start to finish in a hard-fought 20-12 victory over the Knights on Easter Sunday, coach Andrew Webster has been boosted by the return of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at fullback for the first time this season. Other changes include Te Maire Martin replacing Luke Mecalf in the halves and Tom Ale coming in for Kurt Capewell as part of a reshuffled forward pack.

The Warriors have lost their past four matches in Australia dating back to final weeks of last season, however the side's overall record has been much improved with seven wins from 15 matches played across the Tasman during Webster's tenure.

The Warriors have won three of their past five matches at Accor Stadium; the venue also served as the site of the club's biggest victory with a 66-0 thrashing over South Sydney in 2006.

The Rabbitohs and Warriors have met at Accor Stadium on six previous occasions with both sides emerging with three wins apiece.

Who to watch: Gaining his first taste of the top grade against the Warriors six years ago, Tevita Tatola has gone from strength to strength in the ensuing years to become one of South Sydney's premier front-rowers. Remaining reliable in his output with 100 running metres and 31 tackles on average to start 2024, the 27-year-old will relish the opportunity to go up against one of the best forward packs in the league headlined by fellow Tongan representative Addin Fonua-Blake. Scoring his last try against the Warriors on the Sunshine Coast two years ago, look for Tatola run with added intensity every time he gets close to the try line.

Developing into an unsung figure in the Warriors resurgence over recent seasons, Marcelo Montoya will be aiming to continue his try-scoring exploits against the Rabbitohs. Crossing for five tries in eight matches against South Sydney, the 28-year-old winger has been in fine touch to start the year with 135 running metres on average to go with two tries. Scoring the only four-pointer for the Warriors in their loss to the Rabbitohs last season, expect Montoya to be a threat every time the ball shifts to the left on Saturday afternoon.

Favourite: The Warriors are expected to make it three on the trot on Saturday afternoon.

My tip:  While the Rabbitohs will be buoyed with confidence by last week's much-needed victory, the Warriors should defy the history books with a win on the road. Warriors by 12.