Round 20: Rabbitohs v Eels preview
Complacency the obstacle as Rabbitohs look to get back on track against desperate Eels
Last week may have been the loss that the Rabbitohs needed. They were simply out-enthused by a much more committed Tigers outfit, even though the added motivation was there in celebrating John Sutton's 300th game for the club.
Having won nine games straight prior to that defeat, the challenge for Anthony Seibold was always going to be inspiring his men to get up for yet another game. Last week they couldn't. And now they sit in third position, only a week after many people were locking them in for the minor premiership.
This year's competition has been accepted as one of the tightest in recent memory, with first and eighth place on the ladder separated by just four points. Therefore, the two points are key for the Rabbitohs this week, as otherwise they risk bundling out of the top four and possibly out of premiership contention.
While Parramatta should theoretically be a mere speedbump for South Sydney, the Eels still pose a threat as they desperately look to avoid the wooden spoon. Brad Arthur's men claimed a much-needed win over the Bulldogs last week but they will need to be far better if they are to topple the Rabbitohs.
The Eels only managed two tries in the game and while they only conceded the one four-pointer, that is indicative of how terrible Canterbury was. A surprising move this week sees Jarryd Hayne move to the wing with Brad Takairangi replacing George Jennings in the starting line-up.
Last Meeting: A fast start wasn't enough for the Eels as they went down 42-24 to the Rabbitohs in Round 15 earlier this year.
Who to watch: Adam Reynolds will give Parramatta halves Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses a lesson in game management this week. Reynolds has been arguably the form halfback of the competition, with his kicking game being the most impressive aspect of his game. The South Sydney dynamo had 422 kicking metres last week and has been the perfect foil to the more unpredictable and explosive Cody Walker. Parramatta have struggled for creativity and direction in attack in 2018 and won't stand much of a chance if Reynolds produces yet another strong performance.
Similarly, the Eels need Corey Norman to step up if they are to emerge victorious on Friday. Norman may be on the outer at Parramatta and it isn't hard to believe given he has had a relatively quiet 2018 by his standards. Norman was better last week against the Bulldogs, playing a key role in the runaway try to Kaysa Pritchard. Unless he can produce at a more consistent basis, he looks likely to be forced out of the club at season's end.
Favourite: The Rabbitohs are well supported to bounce back.
My tip: South Sydney will respond, there's no doubt about that. And against the Eels, well, they should run up a score. Rabbitohs by 30.