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St George Illawarra and South Sydney go into battle as top eight outsiders after round 11 defeats delivered significant setbacks to their 2020 finals hopes.

The hard-luck Dragons slipped four points behind eighth-placed Manly in 11th while South Sydney are two points in arrears in 10th so victory is vital if they want to keep their seasons alive. 

Both sides engineered brave comebacks that fell just short and suffered injuries in the process so much will hinge on who recovers best from their gruelling Saturday defeats.

The Dragons are much improved in recent weeks but must reverse a poor record against South Sydney which has seen them lose four in a row and eight of their past 10 clashes.

The Rundown

Team news

Dragons: Halfback Adam Clune and Trent Merrin (HIAs) will each miss a week with Ben Hunt reverting to halfback, Cameron McInnes to hooker and Jackson Ford starting at lock. Jordan Pereira replaces Jason Saab on the wing.

Tariq Sims returns from suspension, pushing Tyrell Fuimaono to the bench. Tristan Sailor is the new name on the pine. Saab and Korbin Sims were trimmed from the extended bench on game day after Kaide Ellis and Jayden Sullivan were omitted 24 hours out from kick-off. 

The Dragons have scored 86 points in their past three games.

Rabbitohs: Souths are 1-17. Latrell Mitchell returns from suspension at fullback, forcing Alex Johnston to the wing. Corey Allan is out.

Liam Knight and Patrick Mago return on the bench in place of Jack Johns and Hame Sele (shoulder). Johns and Allan dropped off the reserves list an hour before kick-off after Kurt Dillon and Troy Dargan were cut from the squad on Wednesday night. The Rabbitohs have won their past four games against St George Illawarra.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
    Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
    Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Jaxson Paulo
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan Aitken
    Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Campbell Graham
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
    Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Alex Johnston
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
    Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
    Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
    Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnes
    Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
    Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
    2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Bayley Sironen
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Jackson Ford
    Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Tyrell Fuimaono
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Mark Nicholls
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Josh Kerr
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Liam Knight
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Jacob Host
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Keaon Koloamatangi
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Tristan Sailor
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Patrick Mago

Key match-up

Zac Lomax v Dane Gagai: The Dragons centre has played a key role in St George Illawarra's recent resurgence. In particular, his combination with fullback Matt Dufty has been deadly. Lomax's double against the Sharks gave him six tries in as many games and eight for 2020.

Gagai has also got hot of late, the Rabbitohs veteran crossing against the Raiders to take his season tally to seven tries including a treble against Wests Tigers in round nine and a double against the Titans in round five.

Stat Attack

Damien Cook is best known for his devastating work with the ball in hand running out of dummy-half but he hasn't been shirking his responsibilities in defence this season. In fact he tops the NRL for tackles with 554 - 35 ahead of the more defensively minded Eel Reed Mahoney.