Another former South Sydney coach takes on the Rabbitohs this week and you can be sure Michael Maguire would love nothing more than to beat his old team.
Despite being relatively well placed with a 5-5 record, the Wests Tigers let a game slip from their grasp for the second time this season, when they lost 24-22 to the Storm after leading all the way until the dying minutes.
The Tigers boast a skilful and experienced spine and will continue to be a tough nut to crack if they can remain injury-free.
Souths moved into outright first on the ladder with last week's impressive road win over Canberra and will probably like their chances against the Tigers.
Rabbitohs: Junior Tatola starts for George Burgess as usual in South Sydney's only change. Jacob Gagan and Bayley Sironen dropp off the reserves list, while
Billy Brittain was cut from the reserves 24 hours out from kick-off.
Wests Tigers: With Moses Mbye (groin) out Corey Thompson starts at fullback wiht David Nofoluma on the wing. Elijah Taylor drops off the extended bench.Paul Momirovski is in the centres with Robert Jennings moving to wing and Mahe Fonua dropped. Oliver Clark and Luke Garner were omitted from the reserves on Friday night.
Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Corey AllanFullback for Wests Tigers is number 5 Corey Thompson
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Mawene HirotiWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Robert Jennings
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Ethan LoweCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Paul Momirovski
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane GagaiCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell GrahamWinger for Wests Tigers is number 18 David Nofoaluma
Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody WalkerFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam ReynoldsHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas BurgessProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Ben Matulino
Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien CookHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 14 Tevita TatolaProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Alex Twal
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Ryan Matterson
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Sam Burgess2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris McQueen
Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron MurrayLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 8 George BurgessInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Jacob Liddle
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Mark NichollsInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Dean BrittInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Josh Aloiai
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Liam KnightInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Michael Chee-Kam
- Referee: Gerard Sutton
- Referee: Liam Kennedy
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Touch Judge: Clayton Sharpe
- Video Referee: Bryan Norrie
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
More like key match-ups, because Cook v Farah will be a ripper, as will Reynolds v Brooks. But the standout duel is between Cody Walker - one of the NRL's top five hottest players - and veteran five-eighth Benji Marshall. Marshall has been in terrific form since returning from injury and will relish his battle with the Rabbitohs' money man.
For the Rabbitohs to win
It'll be interesting to see how the Bunnies physically recover from last week's brutal encounter with the Raiders. As long as there's not too many bruises, the Souths pack looms as a major threat to the Wests Tigers, while Wayne Bennett's makeshift back-line continues to shine. As long as they have Sam Burgess, Damien Cook, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker on the field, the Rabbitohs can take on anyone.
For the Tigers to win
The opening 15 minutes will provide a good indication of the Tigers' mindset and if they've recovered from last week's heart-breaker against Melbourne. They need to hold their own up front against the Bunnies' unrelenting forwards, while Marshall and Brooks must provide steady direction and strong kicking games. The Tigers will be hoping Cody Walker finally has a bad game.
Brett Kimmorley says
Souths are top of the ladder and are flying now. I'm looking forward to seeing Damien Cook come up against Robbie Farah – two great running dummy-halves. Both dummy-halves are really important to their sides but they can only run if their forwards win some play-the-balls and create some havoc, so I think the forwards will be where this game will be decided. Rabbitohs by 6.
The Wests Tigers scratched out an impressive 22-6 upset of the Bunnies in their first meeting last season before Souths got some payback with a 51-10 demolition job. Dane Gagai has been a rock for the Rabbitohs in 2019, appearing in all 10 games and averaging 127 running metres. The only surprise is Gagai scoring just one try in those 10 matches. Walker has 11 from 10.
And another thing ...
Cameron Murray has probably done enough to secure a spot on Brad Fittler's bench for the Origin opener. At just 21, Murray displays toughness and maturity beyond his years on a weekly basis for the competition-leading Bunnies. Fittler is an unabashed Murray fan and wants players in form for the Blues' title defence.