South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Finals Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Can Rabbitohs survive resurgent Dragons?

Andrew Hendrie 11 Sep 2018
  • South Sydney Rabbitohs take on St George Illawarra Dragons in a qualifying final on Saturday night
  • Rabbitohs have won three of their last four meetings against the Dragons and their last four at ANZ Stadium
Rabbitohs meet Dragons on Saturday night

Can St George Illawarra Dragons overcome the loss of Gareth Widdop when they square off against bitter rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs in the second qualifying final on Saturday night?

Rabbitohs vs Dragons kicks off at 7.40pm AEST at Allianz Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Channel 9 in Australia.

Prediction

Match Preview


The Dragons surprised everyone with their 48-18 demolition of the Broncos at Suncorp last week - can they do it again when they face the Rabbitohs for a ticket to a preliminary final date against the Roosters?

Seemingly in turmoil after a horror run of form that saw them barely win any games over the last two months of the regular season - including a woeful low point when they lost 38-0 to the lowly Bulldogs just a few weeks ago - the Dragons turned everything around when they travelled to Suncorp to obliterate the Broncos last week.

However, the win came at a huge cost, with influential half Gareth Widdop suffering a season-ending injury to his shoulder. Kurt Mann is the man (pardon the pun) who will join Ben Hunt in the halves as the pair attempt to orchestrate a famous win over Souths.

As mentioned, the Dragons have had a recent history of running out of steam towards the end of the season, but perhaps that triumph over Brisbane has given them a second wind?

And perhaps the opposite could be said for the Rabbitohs? After suffering a heartbreaking and bruising 29-28 defeat to the Storm on away soil last week, Souths now must back up and regroup for an elimination final against a confident team that has nothing to lose.

If not for a late Cameron Munster field goal, the Rabbitohs would have sailed into the preliminary finals with a week off. It just goes to highlight the fine margins in sport, with Souths now battling to survive against a team that was all but written off completely a few weeks ago.

It’s a tough game to predict given how both teams head into this showdown. But I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the Rabbitohs all season, and surely they can bow out of the finals without a win. They’ve won three of their last four against the Dragons, while the loss of Widdop is massive for the joint-venture side in terms of creativity. It promises to be a close contest, but the edge has to go to the Bunnies.

Match Odds


South Sydney Rabbitohs - $1.25
St George Illawarra Dragons - $4.00

Stats


Souths have won three of their last four encounters
Dragons won 16-12 in Round 5, Rabbitohs prevailed 24-10 in Round 10
Dragons winless against Souths at ANZ Stadium since 2013

Teams


South Sydney are unchanged after last week's loss to Melbourne, while Kurt Mann replaces Gareth Widdop (shoulder) at five-eighth for the Dragons, with Hame Sele joining the bench.

Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess, 14 Hymel Hunt, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Dean Britt, 18 Braidon Burns, 19 Mark Nicholls, 20 Tevita Tatola, 21 Connor Tracey

Dragons: 1 Matt Dufty, 2 Nene MacDonald, 3 Zac Lomax, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jordan Pereira, 6 Kurt Mann, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Leeson Ah Mau, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack de Belin, 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Hame Sele, 16 Blake Lawrie, 17 Luciano Leilua, 18 Jason Nightingale, 19 Jai Field, 20 Euan Aitken, 21 Jacob Host

Tips


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South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Finals Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Can Rabbitohs survive resurgent Dragons?

Can St George Illawarra Dragons overcome the loss of Gareth Widdop when they square off against bitter rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs in the second qualifying final on Saturday night?

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