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NRL: Rabbitohs need to show home improvement

South Sydney Rabbitohs may stand in fourth place on the NRL ladder, but they need to do better at home, starting against North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.

The Rabbitohs are currently 3-3 on their own patch, while their away record reads 6-3, meaning that they have to cash in on having plenty more fixtures to play at home than they do on the road.

And a visit from the Cowboys offers an ideal opportunity to get a win on the board, with the visitors having won only one of the seven away games they have played so far this season.

However, recent form suggests that this might be closer than those stats suggest, with North Queensland seemingly on the up and the Rabbitohs having suffered a mini-slump.

WhatSouth Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys
WhereAccor Stadium, Sydney
When18:05 (AEST), Sunday 25th June 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsSouth Sydney Rabbitohs  1.42, North Queensland Cowboys 2.90

Rabbitohs go for eight in a row

The recent meetings of these two sides have been totally dominated by the Rabbitohs, who have won all of the last seven fixtures with the Cowboys, with the most recent ending 20-10 to South Sydney in August of last year.

However, head coach Jason Demetriou has seen his side lose three of their last four games and, although they and the Cowboys are well apart on the ladder, only four points separate the rivals.

The Rabbitohs are coming in off the back of a bye week and will hope that a rest is as good as a change, having been beaten the Eels, Raiders and Dragons during their recent slump.

A key factor in those poor performances has been the absence of star fullback Latrell Mitchell, who has not featured since the 36-16 defeat to Parramatta in mid-May.

His calf injury also ruled him out of the first two State of Origin games and he is not yet ready to return for South Sydney, but five-eighth Cody Walker has shaken off a quad strain and does return to boost the Rabbitohs.

The fit-again Walker is available at 2.55 to be an Anyime Tryscorer on Sunday.

Both Cameron Murray and Damien Cook have also been included in the matchday squad after returning from Origin duty with New South Wales.

Cowboys boosted by back-to-back wins

North Queensland may appear to be well down in the standings - they currently lie in 13th place - but they are only four points worse off than the Rabbitohs and just two points outside the all-important top eight.

And they have found some good form in their last couple of matches, thrashing Melbourne Storm 45-20, before edging a thriller 27-23 against Penrith Panthers.

Trailing 22-12 at one point in the second half, the hosts looked to be heading to defeat, only to mount a stirring fightback which culminated in a golden point try from Scott Drinkwater to complete the comeback.

However, that victory did come at a price, with back-row forward Heilum Luki facing "multiple weeks" on the sidelines after suffering a facial fracture during the game last Friday.

He joins Tom Chester (knee) and James Tamou (foot) in the treatment room, with Chester and Tamou remaining as long-term absentees.

Those two consecutive wins will certainly have lifted the Cowboys camp, with previous losses to Parramatta and West Tigers having seen their top-eight hopes take a serious hit.

Now they need to show that they can overturn their recent poor record against South Sydney and the likely return of Jason Taumalolo to a starting role after returning from injury against Penrith is another boost.

And with their efforts against the Panthers last time out in mind, the Cowboys are 1.75 to win the second half against South Sydney.

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