Rabbitohs v Dragons preview

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South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons Sunday 2:00pm at ANZ Stadium

Dragons look for ninth win of the season as improving Rabbitohs eye off Top Four position

Anthony Seibold's Rabbitohs continue to fly under the radar and the argument can be made that they are the real dark horse for this year's premiership. South Sydney have managed to win five of their past seven games, including last week's dominant 36-18 win over the Knights. This week they welcome back inspirational forward Sam Burgess in a timely bonus against the competition's premier forward pack. Seibold's side has been highly impressive in attack this year, scoring the second most tries in the league thus far. However, this week will be a considerable challenge as they look to crack a Dragons team that has only conceded 13.6 points per game while still scoring 29.3 of their own.

Many were expecting the Red V to finally come crashing back down to earth last weekend against Melbourne but the complete opposite eventuated. The Dragons confirmed their tag as premiership favourites as they claimed a strong 34-14 win. Coach Paul McGregor, while pleased with the win, would have been concerned with his team's 13 errors which consistently invited Melbourne back into the game. Fortunately, the Dragons stood up in defence and constantly turned last year's Premiers away. The entire starting forward pack for the Dragons are in the contention for State of Origin representation this year and they face yet another challenge this weekend against a rampaging South Sydney pack headlined by the returning Sam Burgess.

Last meeting: Round 5 2018 - Dragons 16 Rabbitohs 12

The Dragons survived a late ambush to down the Rabbitohs 16-12 in Round 5 earlier this year.

Who to watch: Sunday afternoon's game could present a possible sneak peak of what is to come in just under a month's time when the NSW Blues and QLD Maroons clash at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Greg Inglis has enjoyed a solid start to his 2018 campaign with five tries, two try-assists and 17 tackle busts. However, entrenched in his mind would be the image of a charging Euan Aitken running over the top of him in South Sydney's loss to the Dragons in Round 5. Revenge may be on the cards on Sunday.

Dragons centre Euan Aitken stood up Inglis last time these sides met and has continued to do his Origin hopes no harm whatsoever. Aitken has seven tries, seven line-breaks and 27 tackle busts to his name in 2018 while his strong defence has almost assured him a sky-blue jersey. If he can shut down G.I. once more the NSW Origin recruits will have little choice but to reward him.

The favourite: The Dragons are favoured on the back of their strong recent form.

My tip: The logical prediction is the Dragons but I just sense that South Sydney will be up for this game. If they win the battle up front it will go a long way to securing the win. Rabbitohs by four.

1. Alex Johnston 2. Campbell Graham 3. Greg Inglis 4. Dane Gagai 19. Hymel Hunt 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. George Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Cameron Murray 16. Jason Clark 17. Tevita Tatola 18. Adam Doueihi

1. Matthew Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Kurt Mann 16. Leeson Ah Mau 17. Zac Lomax

Referees: Adam Gee, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Brett Suttor, Matt Noyen; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Ben Galea;

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