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Two months ago the St George Illawarra pack was something to be feared.

Now, heading into the round two match at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, they need to remind everyone they still have what it takes.

Jack de Belin and Tyson Frizell will both be missing - the latter for at least a month after rupturing a testicle in the loss to the Cowboys.

That's two members of NSW's series-winning State of Origin team missing. When you add the fact Korbin Sims is still suspended, the depth of the side is being tested very early in the season.

As for South Sydney, round one could not have gone much better. Life under Wayne Bennett started with a win and all their big guns fired.

They've got a great chance here to jump out to a 2-0 start to the year. If they can do that, the Rabbitohs hype machine is sure to rise another gear or two.

The Rundown

Team news

Dragons: The Red V are 1-17 as named on Tuesday with Blake Lawrie replacing the injured Tyson Frizell (ruptured testicle) at lock and Josh Kerr joining the interchange. Reece Robson and Jonus Pearson were dropped off the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off. Zac Lomax and Mitchell Allgood were the last two men cut an hour before the match.

Rabbitohs: Wayne Bennett's men are 1-17 with Kyle Turner replacing Corey Allan on the bench in South Sydney's only change from round one. Allan and Rhys Kennedy were omitted an hour before kick-off while Connor Tracey and Mawene Hiroti were dropped out of the 21 on Wednesday night.

Key match-up

Gareth Widdop v Alex Johnston. The Dragons didn't look great in week one. Did the move of Widdop to the No.1 jersey affect their attack that much or did they just have an off night as a team? If the Hunt-Norman-Widdop combination can take a step forward it will help the Dragons no end. As for Johnston, he had a great night against the Roosters. If that performance becomes common-place in 2019, South Sydney's attack will all the more dangerous.

For the Dragons to win

After Jason Taumalolo (286m), Josh McGuire (154m) and Jordan McLean (141m) combined for 581m running metres last weekend the requirement is simple - the Dragons need to improve when it comes to winning the battle at the advantage line. While rival forwards are racking up those types of numbers, winning will prove a difficult task.

For the Rabbitohs to win

More of the same. It's not overly scientific, but that'll be the mantra from Wayne Bennett heading into this match. South Sydney were composed, clinical and confident against the premiers. The manner in which they wore down the Roosters would have Rabbitohs fans feeling very good about themselves. 

Brett Kimmorley says ...

There is no Jason Taumalolo for the Dragons to worry about this week, but can they handle South Sydney’s forward pack? If they can do that the Hunt-Norman-Widdop combination can continue to develop. As for Souths, I’m looking forward to Adam Reynolds repeating the skills he showed last week. Souths were very good against the Roosters. Dragons by 2

Dragons Stat Attack

Mikaele Ravalawa's NRL debut had a bit of everything. He'll want to repeat the 151 running metres and 10 tackle breaks. He won't want to replicate the four handling errors he was guilty of against the Cowboys.

Rabbitohs Stat Attack

Adam Reynolds' kicking game last week was brilliant. He finished the night with 438 kicking metres, three forced drop-outs and had two kicks which hit the posts and resulted in tries. That's going to be a tough standard to maintain for the remainder of 2019.


Played 31, St George Illawarra 17, South Sydney 14

At Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Played 4, St George Illawarra 3, South Sydney 1

And another thing ...

After South Sydney's win over the Roosters last weekend, rival coaches Trent Robinson and Wayne Bennett both said the freedom the South Sydney attack now played under was noticable. Was it this simple, or were those words just pot-shots at now-Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold? If the unshackled Rabbitohs keep playing like they did last week, late-September football is on the cards.