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In the red corner are the red hot Rabbitohs, who are coming off last week's 38-0 annihilation of Parramatta.

Souths have caught fire over the past month, piling on 94 points in their previous two matches and averaging 37 over their past five games.

The Bunnies have to get by without Latrell Mitchell for the rest of the season, but they provided compelling evidence against the Eels that they have the players ready to step up.

In the blue corner are the Storm, who welcomed back their big guns last week and kept hold of second spot after brushing aside a slumping Manly.

The minor premiership is still within Melbourne's reach but they're going to need competition leaders Penrith to slip up in the run to the finals.

The rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: Dane Gagai was ruled out after training on Thursday and his place taken by Steven Marsters. Apart from that South Sydney are 1-17 after Jed Cartwright and Troy Dargan were the two players dropped from the squad an hour before kick-off.

Alex Johnston has been cleared to return from a head knock at fullback with Latrell Mitchell gone for the season with a hamstring injury. Ky Rodwell was the other player omitted from the squad on Thursday.

Storm: Kenny Bromwich returns from a calf injury and will start in the second row. As a result, Chris Lewis drops back to the interchange bench. Sandor Earl and Aaron Pene were the two players omitted an hour before the game.

Brenko Lee replaces Marion Seve (knee, season) at centre. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui will start at lock with Nelson Asofa-Solomona out with a calf strain.

The other player omitted 24 hours before kick-off was Max King.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Alex Johnston
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Corey Allan
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Isaac Lumelume
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Campbell Graham
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Brenko Lee
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 19 Steven Marsters
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
    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 Jahrome Hughes

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 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Bayley Sironen
    2nd Row for Storm is number 21 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Tino Faasuamaleaui

Interchange

  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Mark Nicholls
    Interchange for Storm is number 12 Chris Lewis
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Liam Knight
    Interchange for Storm is number 14 Nicho Hynes
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Patrick Mago
    Interchange for Storm is number 16 Albert Vete
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Keaon Koloamatangi
    Interchange for Storm is number 17 Darryn Schonig

Key match-up

Cody Walker v Cameron Munster. Nothing better than a Friday night heavyweight showdown featuring mouth-watering match-ups all over the park. There's Cook v Smith and Reynolds v Hughes, but it could be a late-game piece of magic from Walker or Munster that proves decisive.

Walker has rediscovered his best form in recent weeks and re-formed a lethal combination with halves partner Adam Reynolds, while the mercurial Munster is returning from injury and will no doubt be relishing his head-to-head duel with Walker.

Stat attack

This is the second meeting between Souths and Melbourne this season. The Storm won that round four clash on home soil 22-8 after leading 8-6 at half-time. Adam Reynolds tied it up at 8-8 with a 50th-minute penalty goal but they were the only points in the second half for the visitors.

In their only meeting last year, Melbourne beat the Bunnies 26-16 at Central Coast Stadium. Souths had a chance to steal victory after a late fightback but Brodie Croft scored a 75th-minute try to clinch Melbourne's win. Campbell Graham scored all three of the Rabbitohs' tries.