South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St. George Illawarra Dragons: Lineups, preview and prediction

ANZ Stadium, Sunday 13th May, 2:00pm AEST.

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Overview

Since these two sides met just a month ago both sides have only gotten better as Inglis' performances have been inspired after a lengthy injury layoff last year and Cody Walker plus Alex Johnston have been menacing all season thus far. Have a near fully fit side and a good blend of old and young with Seibold at the helm things are much rosier this season compared to their premiership hangover. 

The Dragons suffered a first and only season loss to the Warriors however have won three straight since including toppling the reigning premiers the Storm 34-14 last weekend.  This year their resilience hasn't been tested too much however this Sunday could very different against a Rabbitohs side that troubled them a month ago. 

Recent meetings

2018 – Round 5 – St. George Illawarra Dragons 16 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 at Jubilee Oval

2017 – Round 22 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 def. St. George Illawarra Dragons 24 at Sydney Cricket Ground

2016 – Round 11 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 def. St. George Illawarra Dragons 24 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Round 3 – St. George Illawarra Dragons 8 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 at Sydney Cricket Ground

2015 – Round 19 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 def. St. George Illawarra Dragons 8 at Sydney Cricket Ground

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have the better head-to-head record over the previous five match-ups and their two losses have been by a total of just 6 points. The total aggregate score being 102 to 80 with the Rabbitohs ousting the Illawarra Dragons in attack comfortably. The Rabbitohs have also been handed their two defeats during the Dragons hot start to recent seasons and with their ever growing potential will be right up for this one. The Dragons have been brave and led last year by more than six points only to surrender their lead to a spirited Rabbitohs fight back.

Selected teams

South Sydney Rabbitohs St. George Illawarra Dragons
1 Alex Johnston Matthew Dufty
2 Campbell Graham Nene Macdonald
3 Greg Inglis Euan Aitken
4 Dane Gagai Timoteo Lafai
5 Robert Jennings Jason Nightingale
6 Cody Walker Gareth Widdop
7 Adam Reynolds Ben Hunt
8 Thomas Burgess James Graham
9 Damien Cook Cameron McInnes
10 George Burgess Paul Vaughan
11 John Sutton Tyson Frizell
12 Angus Crichton Tariq Sims
13 Sam Burgess Jack De Belin
Interchange
14 Cameron Murray Jeremy Latimore
15 Mark Nicholls Kurt Mann
16 Jason Clark Leeson Ah Mau
17 Tevita Tatola Zac Lomax
Reserves
18 Adam Doueihi Reece Robson
19 Hymel Hunt Mitchell Allgood
20 Braidon Burns Blake Lawrie
21 Kyle Turner Hame Sele

The facts that matter

Rabbitohs

Indigenous round for the Rabbitohs is a proud heritage moment, most players admit to being happy to play a solitary NRL match, well many of the Rabbitohs players would settle for it being this one. With a large contingent of indigenous players passion and pride will be rife on Sunday afternoon. Dane Gagai has been good without being great and the siginificance of this round could really ignite his season.

Sam Burgess returns to an already first class starting forward pack, his enthusiasm and toughness combined make him a nightmare for defences. Produced the greatest Grand Final performance I have ever witnessed in 2014 with a broken cheekbone, the biggest positive since then is the marked improvement in his brothers this season with or without Sam on the field. 

Whilst are touting McInnes to be the starting NSW hooker, Damien Cook can put one foot in the side with a strong performance against the competition leaders who have the best defence in the competition. High on confidence his running game will prove crucial to the outcome of this match. 

Dragons

Carry momentum into Sunday having notched impressive wins against pre-season favourites in the Storm and Roosters amassing 58 points versus the two sides. Even in their loss to the Warriors they looked arguably the better side and at the moment are flying red hot. 

Possess the best halves pairing of the competition in Widdop and Hunt who can both play off the cuff and their partnership and gelling together has come together seamlessly. Neither look like dipping in form any time soon and can send another warning shot to the competition this Sunday if they can account for surprise packets the Rabbitohs.

Euan Aitken's test this Sunday will go a long way to deciding his NSW fate for this year should things go well. Up against one of the greatest of our time in Inglis the number 3 will be busy all game as Inglis gets more involved with every week. Aitken scored a try last week, has pace to burn and steely defensive resolve though so it's a mouthwatering clash sure to excite all Rugby League fans. 

Prediction

A game that will go down to the wire just as it did a month ago the Dragons fit and firing forward pack has been matched by their backline.

 Paul Vaughan came out during the week saying he doesn't think they are playing to their potential at the moment. 

Despite the Rabbitohs impressive improvement over this season and the return of Sam Burgess I am going with a Dragons win by 4 points. 

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