There are many noteworthy occasions, and celebrations of both culture and contribution, sprinkled throughout the NRL calendar. For South Sydney though, Indigenous Round certainly has that extra something special to it.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs club has always received powerful contributions from its Indigenous players.

Indigenous Round, 2023

From Eric Simms back in the 60s and 70s, to more recent contributors like Greg Inglis and Nathan Merritt, it’s hard to think of a time where the Rabbitohs have not been blessed with some seriously elite Indigenous talent.

In the modern day, it is the likes of Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker who will lead the way in representing their roots, culture and traditions at South Sydney.

They will of course be joined in the side this week by Alex Johnston, Jacob Gagai, Jack Wighton and Tallis Duncan, who will all be flying the flag high for their people too.

This Saturday’s match will mark the third time the Rabbitohs have taken on the Eels in Indigenous Round. Each side has had one victory in the previous two encounters, with Rabbitohs winning in 2021 while the Eels got the chocolates last year.

In 2021, the Red and Green posted 38 points to Parramatta’s 20.

Souths had an absolute field day on their lethal left edge, with Indigenous stars Dane Gagai and Alex Johnston each snaring a hat-trick, while Damien Cook also got on the scoreboard after bursting through the middle of a scrum 10m out from the line.

While the 2023 encounter was disappointing for the Rabbitohs, they will certainly take plenty of confidence out of the fact that it is their only loss to date in Indigenous Round, having won the previous six Indigenous Round games since its inception in 2017.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Eels - Round 12, 2021

The Rabbitohs also have a wonderful record over the Eels in all regular season games. Not only have they won six of their last seven clashes – they also have a particularly extraordinary record over the Eels at Accor Stadium where they have played 19 times for 13 wins. This is an outstanding record and will give Rabbitohs all the belief they need to get the job done this Saturday night.

There are several key changes to the Rabbitohs’ line-up coming into this clash.

Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker has been ruled out of this Saturday night's match against the Parramatta Eels with a low-grade calf strain, sustained against the Cowboys last weekend in Magic Round.

Walker finished last week's match but was ruled out late this week prior to the captain's run on Friday.

With the Rabbitohs having a bye next week, the Club has resisted the temptation to play Cody this week which heightens the risk of further injury and time on the sidelines. He is expected to be fit for the round 14 game against the Titans, and it’s expected he could play in the first State of Origin game for New South Wales if he is selected in the squad on Sunday night.

Latrell Mitchell will take on the captaincy of the Rabbitohs for the Indigenous Round match at 7:35pm on Saturday night at Accor Stadium, the third time in which he will have had the honour of captaining the Club.

Out on the edges, the Rabbitohs have named a new-look centre pairing in Taane Milne and Michael Chee Kam.

Finally, the return of Jacob Host from suspension has triggered a reshuffle in the forward pack. With Host named in the number eleven jersey, Keaon Koloamatangi will shift inwards to the lock forward position, while Siliva Havili will replace Taane Milne on the bench after playing last week in the back row.

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