A possible move into the top four is at stake for the Rabbitohs in round 20, while the third-placed Sharks will look to build momentum after an impressive performance in an eventual loss to Penrith last Saturday.
Cronulla matched – and for large periods outplayed – Penrith in round 19, and were in the match right up until Jarome Luai’s 77th-minute try put the game beyond reach.
The Rabbitohs head to PointsBet Stadium in red-hot form, having won their last four matches including a 24-12 victory over the Storm last weekend.
The two clubs have met just once a year for the past six seasons, with South Sydney winning four of those.
Latest team news
Sharks: No late changes on game day after Dale Finucane’s two-game ban for Dangerous Contact on Tuesday night saw Cameron McInnes join the starting side at lock and veteran forward Aiden Tolman return to the bench. Kade Dykes is 18th Man.
Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs are 1-17 with no late changes. Daniel Suluka-Fifita comes into the starting side after being 18th Man last week in place of the injured Mark Nicholls. Taane Milne returned from a finger injury in NSW Cup.
Blayke Brailey vs Damien Cook: After a week off following the Origin decider, Cook returned to contribute plenty on the attacking side of the ball for the Rabbitohs last week, running the ball from dummy-half 10 times for 79 metres, with four tackle breaks. Against the Panthers Brailey was a defensive beast, churning through 60 tackles with just one miss, and the 23-year-old continues to go from strength-to-strength this year.
Between them the two left-side wingers in this match, Alex Johnston and Ronaldo Mulitalo, have 48 line breaks this year and head into round 20 well clear of their nearest rivals at the top of that category. To put that number into context, the Knights have only made 57 line breaks as a team in 2022. Johnston was in fine touch last week, breaking the line twice for two tries, while Mulitalo will have his eyes set on a big outing after being kept quiet in the loss to the Panthers last week.