The Dragons' loss to the Cowboys has left them in a precarious position on the edge of the eight with clashes against the Rabbitohs, Raiders and Broncos in the next three weeks.
A string of penalties and six-again calls cost the Dragons in the first half in Townsville and the game was as good as gone when they trailed 20-6 at the break.
The Rabbitohs took care of business on the Gold Coast with Alex Johnston continuing his golden tryscoring run and Blues stars Damien Cook and Cam Murray digging deep on the back-up from the Origin opener.
Playing in front of the Wollongong faithful is a huge plus for the Dragons but they will need to control the ball and build pressure if they are to reverse a 24-12 loss to the Bunnies in round five.
Dragons: The Dragons are 1-17 with no late changes. Mikaele Ravalawa makes his return from the hamstring injury that has kept him out of the Red V's last three matches so Jonathon Reuben makes way. Mat Feagai returns from illness on the left wing so Tautau Moga goes out. Jaydn Su'A moves into the starting side and Jack de Belin pushes up to the front row so Francis Molo goes to the bench and Josh McGuire (groin) is out. Hooker Andrew McCullough has been named to start in his 300th NRL game with Moses Mbye on the bench.
Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs are 1-17 with no late changes on game day.
Just the one change to the team that beat Gold Coast with Blake Taaffe joining the bench and Peter Mamouzelos dropping to the reserves. Superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell will miss the match under the NRL's COVID protocols. The Rabbitohs reported on Monday that Mitchell was back in training after contracting COVID on his return from America but he will not be available until Round 16.
Match: Dragons v Rabbitohs
Round 15 -
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Cody RamseyFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Kodi Nikorima
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Mathew FeagaiWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Moses SuliCentre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Taane Milne
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac LomaxCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Talatau AmoneFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben HuntHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Lachlan Ilias
Prop for Dragons is number 8 Jack De BelinProp for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCulloughHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Blake LawrieProp for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Jack Bird2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jaydn Su'A2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jai Arrow
Lock for Dragons is number 13 Tariq SimsLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Moses MbyeInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Blake Taaffe
Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Francis MoloInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Mark Nicholls
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Aaron WoodsInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Siliva Havili
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Michael MoloInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Hame Sele
Replacement for Dragons is number 21 Jaiyden HuntReplacement for Rabbitohs is number 18 Peter Mamouzelos
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Ben Hunt v Lachlan Ilias: The Dragons skipper backed up a solid 37-minute showing for the Maroons with a typically energetic display against the Cowboys, running for 156 metres, breaking five tackles and forcing two dropouts. When the Dragons have tasted victory this year it has been on the back of their inspirational captain and he'll need to be on his game again to combat the Bunnies and their impressive No.7 Ilias who continues to grow in stature. In 13 games this year the composed 22-year-old has laid on seven tries to go with eight line break assists and nine forced dropouts. Happy to take the line on if the opportunity presents, Ilias will need to be closely monitored by the Dragons.
Alex Johnston is the competition's leading tryscorer in 2022 with 14 tries in 13 games. The Dragons' most potent threats this season have been Zac Lomax, Jack Bird, Max Feagai and Moses Suli, who have 14 tries between them.