Round one of the NRL is always a noteworthy occasion. After a long, sweltering Australian summer, the fans are absolutely chomping at the bit for the return of the greatest game of all.

This year, however, is bigger than most. In 2024, Rugby League makes its long-awaited comeback via Las Vegas, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs opening the season with a battle against traditional rivals the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Allegiant Stadium

Allegiant Stadium - venue for the 2024 season opener

The bright lights and the big stage of round one in Las Vegas will undoubtedly play their part in this contest. However, when that opening whistle sounds, expect to see both teams put all that to one side and focus on what’s most important on the night – starting their seasons off the right way with a win and two competition points.

Souths have plenty of cause to be confident going into this match. A dominant display in the Charity Shield against the Dragons two weeks ago showed that they are ready to put a disappointing 2023 behind them and reclaim a spot in the top eight.

Charity Shield 2024

The Rabbitohs also have a magnificent record in round one clashes of late, winning four of their last five. Their only loss was in 2021 against the Melbourne Storm, who themselves have not lost in round one in the last two decades.

The men in the Red and Green have also dominated the Sea Eagles in recent years, winning seven out of their last eight match ups, including a memorable clash in week two of the 2019 finals series.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles (Finals, 2019)

After taking a narrow 18-16 lead into halftime, the Rabbitohs found themselves on the back foot after the break, conceding two tries to trail 26-20 at the hour mark of the game.

However, a 66th minute sin bin to Jake Trbojevic saw Souths regain the momentum in the closing stages of the match. They wound up defeating Manly 34-26, with tries to former captain John Sutton and current captain Cameron Murray sealing the victory.

There are a number of players from both sides who will run out onto Allegiant Stadium who also played in this famous match in 2019. One of these players is Sean Keppie, although he is in the rather unique position of having switched sides since this match took place.


Keppie made the switch from Manly to Souths this off-season and will debut this weekend for the Cardinal and Myrtle against his former club for which he played 79 games.

After a strong showing in the Charity Shield, the 25-year-old front-rower will be looking for a big outing against his former teammates, and to show his new teammates that he’s here to make an impact.

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