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Rabbitohs (1st) vs Knights (5th)

Saturday 1 June, 7pm kickoff ANZ Stadium

Official Twitter hashtags - #NRLSouNew #gorabbitohs

Tickets available by clicking here

Despite sitting on top of the competition ladder, the Rabbitohs come off an unexpected loss to the Sharks while the hot and cold Knights suffered a shock loss to the Warriors.

The depth of both sides will be tested with the Rabbitohs missing Origin Stars and the Knights also hit hard by Origin and injury.

Newcastle will be without Darius Boyd (Origin), Kurt Gidley (Origin/injury), Akuila Uate (injury), Anthony Quinn (injury), Beau Scott (injury) and Danny Buderus (injury) but Jeremy Smith returns from suspension.

The Rabbitohs have lost superstar fullback Greg Inglis through Origin, along with Ben Teo and Chris McQueen. Matt King and Luke Burgess remain on the sidelines while Sam Burgess copped a one week suspension following the game against the Sharks.

Andrew Everingham returns from suspension and Jeff Lima and Justin Hunt are promoted to the bench. Coach Maguire is yet to name his replacement for Sam Burgess with several likely possibilities. Merritt will head back to fullback while Nathan Peats will step into the lock position and will make plenty of tackles.

Recent History

The Rabbitohs and Knights are locked at five wins each since 2006 with some very close ones. In fact, the Rabbitohs have scored just eight more points than the Knights, 226-218. Bluetongue Stadium has been the main venue for Rabbitohs home games for these encounters, only one game from the last ten has been played at ANZ Stadium.

Last season South Sydney won both encounters, a 34-14 mauling and a gritty 18-6 away win in round 26. In that clash, the Rabbitohs best were Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis, both of whom will be missing for this encounter. Big Sam led the way with 199 metres while Inglis broke eight tackles and scored a decisive try in the first half. Nathan Peats and John Sutton were also solid. Peats made 34 tackles while Sutton broke six tackles and scored a second half try to go with his try assist and line break assist.

The best for the Knights were Darius Boyd who broke 12 tackles, two line breaks and scored the Knights only try. Uate was solid and so was Zeb Taia, and Danny Buderus made 54 tackles. Unfortunately for the Knights, none of those players will feature this weekend.

Keys to Victory

With injury, suspension and Origin changing the make-up of both sides, depth is the key. The Rabbitohs do appear to have the edge in this area with very classy replacements, all with NRL experience.

Nathan Merritt takes the place of Greg Inglis at the back and while hes been prolific in scoring from the wing, hes no slouch at fullback either, having picked up 39 tries from 51 games in that position.

The positive for both sides is that the halves combinations have stayed intact. John Sutton returns to the Rabbitohs having taken part in Origin camp and he and his halfback Adam Reynolds will be desperate to impress the NSW selectors.

The Knights boast the most prolific kicker in Jarrod Mullen who makes just under 17 kicks per game and hell be a vital part of the Newcastle game plan. His halves partner, Tyrone Roberts is a tremendous runner of the ball and has one of the best 'show and gos' in the game. The Rabbitohs will need to be wary of the wily halfback.

While South Sydney are without their entire back row, they boast Ben Lowe, Nathan Peats and Jason Clark, all who have plenty of NRL experience.

Key Matchups

Roy Asotasi vs Willie Mason

Both sides will need some leaders in their forward pack and there arent many forwards running around with more experience than Roy Asotasi and Willie Mason. Mason boasts a statistical advantage with his running game but Roy is a quality defender and solid ball runner.

John Sutton vs Jarrod Mullen

Sutton missed an Origin spot at the last hurdle and will no doubt be fired up for Saturday night. His running game is second to none as a half and he is most dangerous when taking on the line. Mullen isnt quite the ball runner but has a superb kicking game and tremendous hands.

Holden Cup Preview

Rabbitohs (12th) vs Knights (9th)

Saturday 31 May, 5:20pm kickoff ANZ Stadium

Official Twitter hashtags - #NYCSouNew #gorabbitohs

A win would see the Rabbitohs leapfrog the Knights into ninth spot but the visitors have hit some solid form. An away win over the always strong Warriors across the ditch followed up their huge 50-26 defeat of the Bulldogs.

The Rabbitohs had their best win of the season last week, a 34-10 victory over the struggling Sharks. South Sydney welcome back hardy prop Daniel Smith to the fold while the Knights will be without one of their best in Adam Clydesdale, earning an NRL promotion this week.

Pat Matautia looms as a danger man for the Knights, hes been in absolutely sensational form in the centres along with Honeti Tuha at fullback. Newcastle boast a couple of dynamic props as well in Michael Steele and Jah Pekau and South Sydney this week will face one of their toughest tests up forward.

The bulk of the defensive work will be left with lock Luke Pollard, second rower Brad Croad and hooker Cameron McInnes, all of whom have had fantastic seasons.

Halback Christian Hazard has been in fine form and hell be relied upon to create opportunities for his classy outside men.

The Rabbitohs have a big opportunity to press towards a top eight spot this week and in front of what should be a big crowd theyll certainly have plenty of vocal support. Make sure you get down to ANZ Stadium for the triple-header starting at 3:10pm, with the North Sydney Bears taking on the Cronulla Sharks in the NSW Cup fixture!

Gates open at 3pm.
Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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