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Rabbitohs v Roosters: Spotlight on Latrell; Cordner's back

The Rabbitohs and Roosters will be looking to get back on track when they meet for the 247th time in their storied rivalry on Friday at ANZ Stadium.

The premiers are 0-2 after narrow losses to Penrith and Manly while South Sydney were well beaten by Brisbane on Friday night after narrowly escaping with the points against Cronulla in round one.

The substantial figure of Latrell Mitchell looms large over this contest following his off-season defection to the Roosters' greatest rivals.

Pre-match chatter will focus on whether the Rabbitohs recruit will be given another shot at the No.1 jersey he covets but once the whistle blows it will be purely about performance after two underwhelming outings in the cardinal and myrtle.

The Roosters should be boosted by the return of skipper Boyd Cordner, who has been eased into the season by coach Trent Robinson, and the arrival of centre Josh Morris from Cronulla.

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Latrell Mitchell is under pressure to retain his spot after another disappointing outing in the loss to Brisbane. The new recruit made it through 80 minutes after playing only 55 against the Sharks in round one but struggled to make an impact until he was switched to the centres.

Roosters: Captain Boyd Cordner will finally make his 2020 season debut after missing the pre-season, including the World Club Championship win over St Helens, and the opening two rounds. Josh Morris will also provide welcome reinforcement after competing his in-season move from Cronulla. Sitili Tupouniua (knee) missed round two because of a medial ligament issue suffered against Penrith.

Key match-up

Adam Reynolds v Kyle Flanagan: The goal-kicking playmakers are responsible for both keeping the scoreboard ticking over with their boot and igniting two potent attacking units. Flanagan is still very much the rookie, playing just his 12th NRL match and only his third for the Roosters, while the veteran Reynolds' challenge is getting the misfiring Souths attack purring on all cylinders.

Brett Kimmorley says

This should be a good clash if history is any guide. Latrell Mitchell is under a bit of pressure to play well and we’ll probably only know what position he plays when the game kicks off. One of the things lacking for Souths this year is their go-forward. There’s some good signs in other parts of their game but losing a couple of Burgess boys and John Sutton has been huge for them and they’re probably still coming to terms with that change. The Roosters played really well for two weeks and but they’ve paid the price for a few lapses. They’ll get Josh Morris joining them and he’s a huge inclusion. I still rate him as the best defensive centre in the game. Roosters by 6

Stat Attack

Rugby league's original and most-enduring rivalry sits at 126 wins for the Rabbitohs and 112 for the Roosters with honours almost even when it comes to points scored. The difference is just 88 after 246 contests with the Roosters holding the edge (3788-3700).

And another thing...

Big-name Rabbitohs recruit Latrell Mitchell scored 57 tries in 96 games as a Rooster between 2016 and 2019, the vast majority of those games played in the centres.