Rabbitohs v Eels: No.1 gun Latrell returns; Matterson out

Parramatta will travel down the road to Accor Stadium on Saturday night looking to put a six-point buffer on opponents South Sydney on the Telstra Premiership ladder.

The Eels lead the Rabbitohs by four competition points in sixth spot and if results go their way they could be in the top four by the end of the round. 

South Sydney are producing a very inconsistent season and must find some form if they're going to make a dent in this year's competition after going down to the Dragons by 20 points in round 15. 

Latrell Mitchell's return will help but overall Jason Demetriou's side can't rely on the fullback's comeback from a long-term hamstring injury to spark a resurgence. 

The Rabbitohs have had the wood over Parramatta in recent games for an aggregate scoreline of 78-32 in 2021. 

Parramatta will be expected to win - something they've struggled with at times against teams below them on the ladder - while the Rabbitohs are on the verge of slipping outside the top eight. 

The Rundown
Team news
Rabbitohs: Latrell Mitchell is back from a long injury lay-off for his first game since round five so Kodi Nikorima reverts to the bench and Blake Taaffe to the reserves. Damien Cook got through 46 minutes off the bench for NSW and is set to back up. Cameron Murray copped a head gash but passed a HIA and should be good to go despite a short turnaround. Jai Arrow got through limited time in Origin II and should be OK to play. Mark Nicholls has been named to start at prop with Thomas Burgess going to the bench. There were no unexpected changes when the squad was trimmed 24 hours before kick-off.

Eels: Ryan Matterson dropped out of the team when the squad was trimmed to 19 players 24 hours before kick-off, with Marata Niukore named to start at lock. Parramatta had only Junior Paulo to worry about after Origin II with the big man getting through 43 minutes on Sunday night. The Eels' international contingent includingNiukore, Dylan Brown, Waqa Blake and Maika Sivo got through Test matches unscathed and with a seven-day turnaround will all be raring to go. Centre Tom Opacic joined the interchange in the absence of Matterson.

Key match-up
Cody Walker v Dylan Brown: Two playmakers at different stages of their career but vitally important to their respective sides. Walker has been on the end of some criticism for his yo-yo form to coincide with the Rabbitohs' inconsistency this year but there's no doubting when he's on the side responds. It's a similiar case for Brown, who has taken his game to another level this year and acts as the perfect foil for Mitchell Moses. Coming off an international debut for the Kiwis, Brown will be looking to take that experience into this weekend's fixture. 

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Source: NRL.com