After scratching out a few wins based largely on defence, the Rabbitohs cut loose in last week's 38-6 demolition of the Broncos.
But they didn't put all their focus on the offence and forget about the defence, which was probably the most pleasing aspect for coach Wayne Bennett against his former club.
Judging by their past two displays against Brisbane and Penrith, it seems clear the Bunnies have bought into Bennett's blueprint for premiership success.
The Cowboys still have a pulse after last week's 28-14 home win over the Titans and are a different team with Jason Taumalolo back from a knee injury, but they'll have to produce something really special to spring an upset on Sunday.
Rabbitohs: For the sixth straight week, Junior Tatola (No.14) was moved from the bench to the starting side an hour before kick-off, with George Burgess going back to the interchange. Otherwise, the Rabbitohs are 1-17. After Jacob Gagan and Connor Tracey were omitted from the reserves on Saturday, Dean Britt and Mawene Hiroti were left out an hour from game time.
Cowboys: In a change made an hour before kick-off, Enari Tuala is out of the Cowboys team with Tom Opacic (No.19) to start in the centres. In another move, Kurt Baptiste (No.14) will start at hooker with Jake Granville to start on the bench. Tuala and Shane Wright were the two players left out 60 minutes before game time. Jake Clifford and Corey Jensen were trimmed from the reserves on Saturday.
No player in the NRL is hotter than Cody Walker and he looms as the man the Cowboys have to shut down. Of course, that's easier said than done as the Broncos, Warriors etc etc have all found out in 2019. On Sunday there's a good chance he'll line up against Josh Asiata, who started at five-eighth against the Titans despite initially being named at lock. Walker will be licking his lips at the prospect of opposing a player who spends most of his time in the forwards.
For the Rabbitohs to win
They can't afford a drop-off in hunger and intensity after last week's five-star display against Brisbane. Walker and Adam Reynolds have to pull the strings as they've done all year and the pair will be mindful of maintaining their good form with the Origin series just around the corner. Sam Burgess was tremendous last week and will be looking for more of the same on Sunday.
For the Cowboys to win
Jason Taumalolo's impact in last week's comeback game from injury can't be understated and the Cowboys will be counting on another powerful performance from their wrecking ball lock against arguably the hottest team in the competition. Michael Morgan needs to be at his best against Walker and Reynolds.
Brett Kimmorley says
For the Cowboys it might all depend of Jason Taumalolo, when he plays well the Cowboys have a good chance of winning. The rest of them are struggling a little bit. Jake Granville should be looking forward to the challenge of taking on Damien Cook. He’s been a bit below par for 12-18 months now. For Souths, Cody Walker can keep pushing for an Origin spot so long as the incumbents keep going like the have been. South Sydney are the real deal. Rabbitohs by 12
Cody Walker is the NRL's leading try-scorer (9) and sits third in try assists (7). Damien Cook heads three separate categories including receipts (978), line engaged (61) and dummy-half runs (77). The Rabbitohs lead all teams in runs (1,518) and run metres (13,478). The Cowboys and Bunnies both rank in the top three teams for post-contact metres.
And another thing ...
Paul Green must've run out of patience with Jake Clifford after replacing him with a lock who was primarily used as a back-up prop last year. It remains to be seen if 104kg John Asiata retains his spot in the halves alongside Michael Morgan, but most coaches won't change a winning team so it looks like Clifford will have to work his way back into Paul Green's good books through reserve grade.