Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett renew their coaching battle although this is the first time they've faced off with Bennett sporting Rabbitohs colours.

And his South Sydney players will be anxious to get back into the winner's circle after the Sharks put six tries on them last weekend and they dropped from second to fourth on the ladder.

The neutral venue of Central Coast Stadium also means the favouritism tag for this round 21 game is a little more up in the air. 

The Storm put seven tries on the Broncos last weekend and seem on top of the world at the moment as well as three wins clear of the opposition on the ladder.

Match: Rabbitohs v Storm

Round 21 -

Full Time
Rabbitohs

Home Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 16 points
Storm

Away Team

Storm

Scored 26 points

Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Captain Sam Burgess (quad) and Braidon Burns (hamstring) were ruled out on Saturday. Kyle Turner replaces Burns in the centres with Dean Britt in the back row and Corey Allan joining the interchange. Liam Knight and Ethan Lowe start at prop and second row respectively with Tom Burgess and John Sutton benched. Jaydn Su'A and Connor Tracey were the final two names to drop out on game day. The Rabbitohs have won five of their past seven games at Central Coast Stadium.

Storm: The Storm have been granted two exemptions, with debutant Nicho Hynes (fullback) and Billy Walters (bench) included in the 17 with Ryan Papenhuyzen (mid-foot sprain), Brandon Smith (ankle sprain) and Jahrome Hughes (back spasms) all out injured. Tino Faasuamaleaui is the other inclusion on the interchange. Solomone Kata, Max King and Sandor Earl all drop out of the final squad. Melbourne have won 12 of their past 14 games against the Rabbitohs.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Adam Doueihi
    Fullback for Storm is number 22 Nicho Hynes
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Dane Gagai
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Suliasi Vunivalu
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 James Roberts
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Will Chambers
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 17 Kyle Turner
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell Graham
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
    Halfback for Storm is number 7 Brodie Croft

Forwards

  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Cameron Smith
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 14 Liam Knight
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 16 Ethan Lowe
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 18 Dean Britt
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Dale Finucane

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Interchange for Storm is number 15 Tui Kamikamica
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton
    Interchange for Storm is number 16 Joe Stimson
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Mark Nicholls
    Interchange for Storm is number 20 Tino Faasuamaleaui
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 19 Corey Allan
    Interchange for Storm is number 23 Billy Walters

Key match-up

If Damien Cook is drawing close to Cameron Smith as the code's best hooker, now is the perfect time to prove that. The Rabbitohs rake is a constant threat with his speed and vision but Smith's unparalleled game-management is sharp as ever.

For the Rabbitohs to win

Cutting down on the error rate - 14 against the Sharks - would be a good start. But so would be re-engaging with their second-phase play. The Sharks had 10 off-loads to South Sydney's six, that helped bring about Cronulla's seven line-breaks. Halves Adam Reynolds and Cody Walkers being more mischievous and ensuring better Rabbitohs go-forward will also make problems for Storm.   

For the Storm to win

Keep on, keeping on is a familiar catch-cry for Melbourne these days. They lead the NRL in tries, possession, set completions, support play and line breaks, so both backs and forwards are doing their job. They will need to keep Reynolds and his boot under tight scrutiny - he's in the top-four in the NRL for his kicking game while Brodie Croft is outside the top-15.

Brett Kimmorley says

If Sam Burgess is out it will make things hard for the Rabbitohs. Guys like Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds need to get back to the form they showed at the start of the year. Melbourne will give you nothing, they will be really tough and in your face. It will be a good arm wrestle for a period of time but in the last few weeks Melbourne have just broken sides at the end of game when teams just haven’t been able to go with them. I expect the same thing to happen on Sunday. Storm by 10

Stat Attack

It's advisable for the playmaker from both sides to kick into touch as often as possible. Melbourne top the NRL for kick return metres (4252), while South Sydney are directly behind them with (3704).

And another thing ...

Bellamy is ahead of Cameron Smith in the number of games he's coached (440) compared with his skipper's 403 played. But Bennett takes the cake - this week is his 833rd game as an NRL head coach.