The Rabbitohs came out of last round’s clash against the Raiders rocked by injuries to three key players.
This week, redemption is on the cards should they beat the Melbourne Storm.
With a developing situation due to the COVID outbreak in NSW, the first match of the round will have fans wearing masks on public transport on their way to Stadium Australia. It has been strongly recommended to wear a mask once inside the stadium, but is not yet mandatory.
After an expected round one victory for the Storm earlier in the season, both teams will look quite different after having to make necessary changes due to injuries and suspensions.
The Rabbitohs suffered major losses in their backline, most notably halfback Adam Reynolds missing this week due to torn ligaments in his thumb.
South Sydney will feel lucky that Melbourne’s latest superstar in fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is still a week away from returning to the side after a shoulder injury. Papenhuyzen was crucial to Melbourne’s round one victory, scoring two tries and kicking five of the six goal opportunities.
Despite sitting in fifth with two early losses this season, Storm have dominated each of their opponents recently, averaging 26.4 point victories over the past five weeks and have scored 100 points across their past three games at Stadium Australia.
Victories have been a harder fight for South Sydney in recent weeks, coming back from behind at half time in each match for the past three weeks, with coach Wayne Bennett voicing that there was still plenty to work on after last weekend’s victory.
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Due to these injuries, Souths have had to reshuffle the line up for a number of key players.
Benji Marshall will don the number seven tonight, taking over Adam Reynolds’ role, and Dean Hawkins comes into the side at five-eighth. Cody Walker continues to play at fullback due to Latrell Mitchell’s suspension.
Campbell Graham, Cameron Murray and Jaxon Paulo are also out of the side due to injuries, with Tevita Tatola and Braidon Burns returning to the side. Steven Marsters is being promoted to play on the wing after being named as the 18th man in round eight.
Storm have had fewer changes to make, losing Tom Eisenhuth due to a groin injury.
George Jennings will return to the wing, and Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Dean Ieremia have been named on the bench, Ieremia being rewarded after playing a full 80 minutes last round coming on as a reserve to replace Ryley Jacks.
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