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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.

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.