The Late Mail: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
119 mins ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
The NRL's rescheduled Round 20 continues on Sunday night at Suncorp Stadium, as the St George Illawarra Dragons look to overcome a form slump to take on a South Sydney side that has restarted to find form over recent weeks.
Since the reformation of the COVID bubbles, the Red ‘V' have struggled both on and off the field with the highly publicised BBQ incident and then on the field in Queensland the Dragons have suffered badly with comprehensive defeats up against Manly and the Titans over the past fortnight.
The Dragons suffered a 32-10 defeat last weekend up against the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium and they were outplayed from the beginning up against the Gold Coast.
The Dragons have suffered all over the park in recent weeks and with players still facing their COVID infringement bans the Dragons will need to find something against Souths.
This weekend, the Dragons are without Jack de Belin, Jack Bird and Blake Lawrie who are serving their infringement bans whilst Corey Norman returns to the side after serving his ban last weekend.
The Red ‘V' have also dropped Matt Dufty from their side with Tyrell Sloan named at fullback, Poasa Faamausili, Billy Burns, Tyrell Fuimaono are added to the starting side, whilst Jayden Hunt & Jackson Ford are added to the bench.
A 50-point defeat to the Panthers, has been the turning point for the South Sydney Rabbitohs winning their subsequent 7 games and reigniting their chances of a top 2 finish with the injury situation at the Panthers opening the door.
Despite having a leaky defence at times, the Rabbitohs turned on the class as they took a 60-22 victory over the New Zealand Warriors on the Sunshine Coast last Saturday.
The Rabbitohs ran in 11 tries in their contest and whilst another 11 this week is a big ask, they will no doubt be wanting another high score to prove they're contenders for the season.
The Bunnies have lost Cam Murray through suspension with Jai Arrow moving into the starting squad.
Souths also welcome back Campbell Graham and Liam Knight from head knocks. Blake Taafe is also added to the bench pushing Braidon Burns back to the reserves.
Last meeting: Round 12 2020 - Dragons 24 Rabbitohs 32
Who to watch: The star of Queensland's game 3 win, Ben Hunt has struggled to bring across his Origin form to the NRL arena for the Dragons.
The Red ‘V' will need Hunt to find that form to even bring them up to the level that they need to be if they want to be contenders for the top 8 and even match the Rabbitohs side.
Returning from his two-game COVID bubble breach ban, Jai Arrow will be looking to make his Rugby League do the talking rather than off-field indiscretions which have blighted his season.
Arrow will be a big part of the Souths charge to the final and he needs to continue to be strong helping Souths get to the finals.
The favourite: The Rabbitohs are the heavy favourites for the competition given their superior form and the poor form of the Dragons.
My tip: Hard to go past South Sydney, their performances have been excellent in recent weeks and the massive improvement needed for the Dragons looks beyond them with key players out this weekend. Souths should win the game and do it rather easily. Souths by 20.
1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Corey Norman 4. Talatau Amone 5. Gerard Beale 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Ben Hunt 17. Kaide Ellis 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Poasa Faamausili 11. Billy Burns 12. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Tariq Sims 8. Josh Kerr 14. Adam Clune 15. Jaiyden Hunt 16. Jackson Ford 18. Cody Ramsey
1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dane Gagai 18. Taane Milne 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Mark Nicholls 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jaydn Su'A 13. Jai Arrow 14. Blake Taaffe 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jacob Host 19. Davvy Moale 21. Braidon Burns
Referees: Chris Butler; Sideline Officials: Belinda Sharpe, Drew Oultram; Video Referees: Grant Atkins;