A nail-biting finish is on the cards if recent results between these teams is any guide, with South Sydney and Manly having already played out two one-point thrillers this season.
The Sea Eagles prevailed 13-12 at Lottoland back in round four while the Rabbitohs had their revenge with a 21-20 win at ANZ Stadium in round 17.
They had the Roosters' measure twice during the season but the Rabbitohs were no match for the premiers when push came to shove in the opening week of the finals.
Souths diehards pointed to the atrocious start to the game, the lack of decent possession and the absence of stars Dane Gagai and Sam Burgess, but there's no room for any excuses when the stakes are raised even higher this week.
Burgess should be not only jumping out of his skin to play, he owes it to his team-mates to live up to his superstar status and deliver an inspirational performance similar to the one he produced in the 2014 grand final.
The Sea Eagles have proven they can't be taken lightly after ending Cronulla's season despite having the likes of Martin Taupau, Tom Trbojevic, Joel Thompson and Curtis Sironen stuck on the sidelines.
Taupau returns from suspension this week and Des Hasler's side will again feel they have nothing to lose with the club having already surpassed expectations this season.
Match: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Finals Week 2 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Rabbitohs: The return of captain Sam Burgess (suspension) and centre Dane Gagai (hamstring) is a huge boost for the Bunnies who will line up 1-17 as named. Burgess replaces Jaydn Su'A while Gagai's return sees Campbell Graham go to the wing and Corey Allan drop out. Tom Burgess has been named to start after coming off the bench last week and he swaps with brother George, who goes to the interchange. Kyle Turner and Dean Britt were the first two cuts from the extended squad on Thursday. Su'A and Allan made way an hour before kick-off at ANZ Stadium.
Sea Eagles: Des Hasler's men are 1-17 with Martin Taupau back on board after a week's suspension and starting alongside Addin Fonua-Blake in the front row. Sean Keppie drops back to the bench while Toafofoa Sipley is out of the side. Tony Williams and Tevita Funa were the first two omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off while Lachlan Croker and Toafofoa Sipley were the final cuts an hour before game time. The Sea Eagles have lost their past nine games at ANZ Stadium.
Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Adam DoueihiFullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Brendan Elliot
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex JohnstonWinger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 James RobertsCentre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane GagaiCentre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Moses Suli
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell GrahamWinger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody WalkerFive-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan Walker
Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam ReynoldsHalfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Thomas BurgessProp for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien CookHooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Liam KnightProp for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Corey Waddell
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Sam Burgess2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Jack Gosiewski
Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron MurrayLock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 George BurgessInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Manase Fainu
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Mark NichollsInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Haumole Olakau'atu
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Tevita TatolaInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Sean Keppie
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Ethan LoweInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Lloyd Perrett
His side didn't win and he was overshadowed by former team-mate Luke Keary, but a light bulb must've gone on in Souths halfback Adam Reynolds' head in the second half of last week's loss to the Roosters. Reynolds showed he's at his most dangerous when he runs the ball more often, swerving and ducking defenders to score the Bunnies' only try. The experienced No.7 has to go close to matching Manly, Queensland and Australia Test star Daly Cherry-Evans if the Rabbitohs are going to prevail.
For the Rabbitohs to win
As mentioned Reynolds has to make sure to pack his full bag of tricks, while his halves partner Cody Walker needs to bounce back strongly after being keptquiet last week. Sam Burgess has to prove he is still this team's No.1 leader and keep his discipline in check, while Cam Murray and Damien Cook need to keep defenders guessing with quick feet in the middle of the field.
For the Sea Eagles to win
The lesser lights will need to step up again. Addin Fonua-Blake was inspirational up front last week and will need to repeat the dose against Burgess and friends, and if the Sea Eagles pack can get a roll on then dynamic dummy-halves Api Koroisau and Manase Fainu can cause havoc against the Rabbitohs' big men. Cherry-Evans' performance will once again be crucial as the team's focal point in attack in the absence of Tom Trbojevic.
Brett Kimmorley says
Good news for Souths with Sam Burgess back. Wayne Bennett admitted he got his back five rotation wrong last week and they got blown off the park. It'll take a great mental readjustment after a heavy loss. Des Hasler came up with a masterclass victory against Cronulla. Fonua-Blake and Cherry-Evans were great. The battle of the forwards will be really important in this game. For South Sydney to win it'll come back to their discipline improving and a high completion rate, because they rely on that quite heavily. If the don't do that they won't win the game. Rabbitohs by 4.
These teams are chalk and cheese when it comes to second-phase play this season. Only the Eels have made more offloads this year than Manly's 307, while South Sydney make the second-fewest offloads per game of any team in the competition. Minor premiers Melbourne is the only club that throws offloads less often than the Rabbitohs.
And another thing ...
The Sea Eagles haven't beaten South Sydney twice in a season since 2010. Manly's leading try-scorer that season was Tony Williams, with 16.
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