SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Date: Sunday August 3
Kick off: 3pm
Venue: Barlow Park, Cairns
Referees: Adam Devcich, Henry Perenara
Broadcast: 4pm on Channel Nine (delayed)
Last time they met:
The Rabbitohs defeated the Knights 25-18 in Round 12 of the 2013 season at ANZ Stadium. It was the Rabbitohs who finished the match stronger after a 12-all half time scoreline. On this day, Josh Mantellato made his NRL debut match while Kevin Naiqama covered for Darius Boyd, who was on Origin duties.
The Knights and Rabbitohs have met on 35 occasions. The Knights have won 25 of these matches and lost 10.
1. Sione Mata’utia, 2. Jake Mamo, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Chanel Mata’utia, 6. Kurt Gidley (c), 7. Tyrone Roberts, 8. Kade Snowden, 9. Adam Clydsdale, 10. Willie Mason, 11. Beau Scott, 12. Robbie Rochow, 13. Jeremy Smith. Bench: 14. Travis Waddell, 15. Korbin Sims, 17. Adam Cuthbertson, 18. David Fa’alogo.
1. Greg Inglis, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Dylan Walker, 4. Kirisome Auva’a, 5. Bryson Goodwin, 6. John Sutton, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Isaac Luke, 10. David Tyrrell, 11. Kyle Turner, 12. Ben Te’o, 13. Sam Burgess. Bench: Luke Keary, Ben Lowe, Jason Clark, 17. Thomas Burgess.
Off the back of one of the Club's most impressive performances against the Sydney Roosters, the Newcastle Knights go into Sunday's match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs winning four of their last five matches.
The second-placed Rabbitohs, who take this match on the road to Cairns, have won six from their last eight matches.
Both sides are without some regular faces for the Round 21 clash. For the Knights, Jarrod Mullen was ruled out due to an abdominal strain but they will be bolstered by the return of skipper Kurt Gidley.
For the Rabbitohs, Ben Te'o will miss the game due to suspension while there is some doubt over the fitness of John Sutton and Sam Burgess. Both sufffered injuries in their win over the Canberra Raiders on Monday night but have been named to play.
"We need everyone to just play their part this Sunday," Knights Apprentice Mentor Anthony Quinn explains.
"You know Souths are going to be clinical, so it is important we play consistently and follow on from last week's performance.
"They have a number of players that you need to be mindful of like Greg Inglis, Adam Reynolds, Isaac Luke but across the board they have plenty of threats."
It is set to be a family affair, with the Mata'utia brothers in action again for the Knights and the Burgess brothers as usual for Souths.
"The Burgess brothers will obviously be playing up front and the Mata'utia's in the back, so they might not have much to do with each other but it is exciting for the game and exciting for the families," Quinn added.
A sidenote to that, Pat Mat'autia will play up against brother Peter Mata'utia in the NSW Cup clash in Newcastle on Sunday.
Where it will be won:
With potentially a new-look halves combination's for both teams, it will come down to who can guide their team around the park best. Gidley joins Tyrone Roberts with the injury to Jarrod Mullen, while it is still to be determined if Sutton partners Adam Reynolds or if Luke Keary steps up. They will be aiming for a high level of completions, control of the ruck and executing any opportunities with class to score points.
Both teams will also be playing in unfamiliar conditions, with a warm and possibly humid day expected to greet the visiting teams.
“Every team has a good forward pack now, there is no easy way around it,” Robbie Rochow said earlier this week.