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Ultimate Guide: Big changes for Souths as Origin stars drop out

The nib Newcastle Knights are officially into the back half of the 2021 season and their next opponent will be the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Saturday at Stadium Australia.

Coming off a thumping 40-4 loss to the Eels last start, the red and blue will target a positive response and aim to move closer to the top eight spots.

The Bunnies are fresh off the bye while had six players feature in State of Origin.

Their most recent result was a 38-20 victory over the Eels.

This is your Ultimate Guide to the Newcastle Knights Round 14 clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, brought to you by Mine Super. 


Date: Saturday June 12, 2021

Kick-off: 5:30pm

NSW Cup: 12:40pm

Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney


Since: 1988

Played: 44

Rabbitohs: 17

Knights: 27



1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnston. 3, Braidon Burns, 4. Campbell Graham, 5.  Taane Milne, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds (c), 8. Mark Nicholls, 14. Benji  10. Junior Tatola, 11. Keaon Koloamatangi, 12. Jacob Host, 16. Hame Sele. Interchange: 15. Jaydn Su’A, 17. Thomas Burgess, 18. Liam Knight, 23. Peter Mamouzelos. 18th Man: 20. Blake Taaffe.

Coach: Wayne Bennett


1. Tex Hoy, 2. Enari Tuala, 3. Kurt Mann, 4. Bradman Best, 21. Dom Young, 6. Jake Clifford, 14. Connor Watson, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Jayden Brailey (c), 10. Daniel Saifiti (c), 11. Brodie Jones, 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 13. Mitch Barnett. Interchange: 15. Sauaso Sue, 16. Josh King, 17. Jack Johns, 20. Mat Croker. 18th Man: 18. Gehamat Shibasaki.

Coach: Adam O'Brien


LATE MAIL: Souths rookie Peter Mamouzelos gets a first grade debut for the home side, coming onto the bench in place of Patrick Mago.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Crossland has been ruled out for the Knights, with Connor Watson set to start in the halves and Mat Croker coming onto the bench.

EARLIER UPDATE: In big news for the Bunnies, Damien Cook and Cam Murray have elected not to back up for tomorrow's game.

Benji Marshall will start at hooker, while Hame Sele moves into the starting side at lock.

Josh Mansour and Tautau Moga also dropped off the extended bench.

Meanwhile, Brayden Musgrove and Jirah Momoisea are the two players to come out of Adam O'Brien's roster.

Dom Young comes into the side on the wing for his second appearance of 2021.

EARLIER: Head Coach, Adam O'Brien, has named his 21-man squad for Saturday night's clash with Daniel Saifiti named to back up from the State of Origin encounter.

Daniel will line-up alongside twin brother Jacob in the front row.

Sauaso Sue drops back to the bench, with Mat Croker moving back to the reserves.

Jake Clifford will start at five-eight alongside Phoenix Crossland in the halves, with Kurt Mann shifting to the centres for the first time this year.

Enari Tuala will also start in a new position, lining up on the wing.

For the Rabbitohs, Jai Arrow and Dane Gagai have not been named after being selected in State of Origin.

Origin players Damien Cook, Cameron Murray, Latrell Mitchell, Jaydn Su’A and Campbell Graham have all been named in the squad and will be assessed following tomorrow night’s match.


The heavy loss to the Eels saw the Knights slip to 14th on the table with 10 points.

They still remain tied with Cronulla, Wests Tigers, Titans and Raiders on the same points and only a win outside the eight.

The Knights will look to turnaround their away form with two wins on the road from six games so far this season including back-to-back defeats away from home.

Newcastle will face another top-four team in the Rabbitohs who returned to form with a 38-20 win over the Eels in Round 12.

Apart from a 50-0 drubbing at the hands of Melbourne, the Bunnies have been strong at Stadium Australia winning five out of their six games on home turf.


Cody Walker v Jake Clifford

It will be a running battle in the halves between Rabbitohs five-eight Cody Walker and the Knights newest recruit, Jake Clifford.

Walker has been pivotal in the Bunnies start to the campaign with nine tries in 11 games plus 10 try assists and 11 line-break assists.

Newcastle will need to shutdown Walker's immense running game while Clifford will look to utilise his powerful kicking game.

Jake has forced seven drop outs this season and averaged 280.6 kicking metres.


The Knights will be out for revenge when they face the team who knocked them out of the 2020 finals series. 

The Rabbitohs won 46-20 in the elimination final to send Newcastle packing.

The head-to-head record favours the Knights including two wins out of two at Stadium Australia in the past regular season games against the red and green.

Bradman Best has scored consecutively in the past two games against the Bunnies.

Rabbitohs winger, Alex Johnston, has made the most line-breaks in the NRL with 18.