Below Strength Bunnies Host Knights

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Nathan Merritt has scored 11 tries from as many matches this season. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last  5 Meetings

Round 26, 2012 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 d Newcastle Knights 6 at Hunter Stadium
Round 18, 2012 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 d Newcastle Knights 14 at ANZ Stadium
Round 26, 2011 – Newcastle Knights 40 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 40 at Hunter Stadium
Round 5, 2010 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 d Newcastle Knights 10 at Bluetongue Stadium
Round 16, 2009 - Newcastle Knights 25 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 at Hunter Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 7    Rd 8    Rd 9    Rd 10    Rd 11 
Rabbitohs

W

W

W

W

L

Knights

W

L

L

W

L


The Rabbitohs  will be without a host of stars for their match against the Newcastle Knights  at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, with the clubs surge to the top of the NRL ladder seeing several key men selected for the State of Origin series opener on Wednesday. Greg Inglis, Ben Te’o and Chris McQueen are all part of the Queensland squad for that match and are unavailable, while the judiciary handed the club a further blow by suspending English international Sam Burgess for a week after being found guilty of dangerous conduct against the Sharks. Andrew Everingham returns from suspension in the backline with Justin Hunt and Jeff Lima joining the squad after missing Monday night’s 14-12 defeat to the Sharks.

Darius Boyd, Kurt Gidley and Akuila Uate will all be missing from the Newcastle side that went down 28-12 to the Warriors in New Zealand last week, with the former in camp with Queensland and the latter two injured. Kevin Naiqama will line up at fullback after being 18th man last week and Peter Mata'utia will play his first match of the season but the big inclusion for the Knights is lock Jeremy Smith. Smith returns after serving a six match ban for a head slam against the Panthers in round six and his return is a big boost to a pack still missing experienced campaigners Beau Scott and Danny Buderus.

1st Tryscorer

Nathan Merritt  was again overlooked by New South Wales selectors last weekend and he will be determined to prove a point against the Knights at ANZ Stadium. He has bagged 11 tries in as many matches this season – including two hat-tricks – and will look to add to his tally against Newcastle.

With Darius Boyd unavailable, Kevin Naiqama  gets just his second start of the season for the Knights and will look to build on an imposing tryscoring record in the top grade. He has nine tries from ten NRL matches and got across the line twice against the Bulldogs a fortnight ago.

Prediction

Both sides go into the clash without the services of key personnel but only telling stat going into this fixture is the Knights poor form away from Hunter Stadium recently. Wayne Bennett’s side has just a solitary victory from its past six matches away from home and they look unlikely to improve on that record against the table-topping Rabbitohs. South Sydney Rabbitohs by 10

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