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NRL: Souths out to snap Panthers hoodoo

South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers will get week eight of the NRL underway on Thursday night, and it is a clash that rarely disappoints.

The NRL continues to excite in 2023 and the Panthers were involved in another golden-point thriller when edging out the Newcastle Knights at the weekend. 

The Rabbitohs also beat Manly Sea Eagles in extra-time on 25th March and there is every chance we could be in for another thriller here. 

These two have already clashed on one occasion this season. That was back in round two with the Panthers winning the game 16-10 in the reverse fixture.

South Sydney will be out for revenge on home soil and seem to be in good touch after winning their last two games. 

Both sides are packed with quality, boasting some of the best players in the NRL, so we are all set up for an exciting opening game to week eight. 

With kick-off fast approaching, let’s take a closer look at the match-up between the Bunnies and Panthers.

Panthers dominate Souths

WhatSouth Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers
WhereAccor Stadium, Sydney
When19:50 (AEST), Thursday 20th April, 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsSouth Sydney Rabbitohs 2.80, Penrith Panthers 1.44

South Sydney have not defeated the Panthers at Accor Stadium since way back in 2017. Not only that, Penrith have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two sides, including the 2021 NRL grand final. 

So it is fair to say they have the sign over the Rabbitohs in recent years. Souths will have to be at their best to beat a Penrith side, who are starting to find their form after a slow start to the new season. 

The Panthers lost their opening game of the season against the Broncos, while Parramatta also beat them in another golden-point thriller. 

But they have since responded with three straight wins to take them up to second on the ladder and are starting to show there is life after Api Koroisau and Viliame Kikau. 

Another victory on Thursday night will keep the pressure on the Broncos at the top of the ladder and show they mean business in the race to win a third premiership on the bounce. Ivan Cleary’s men are priced at 3.75 to do just that.  

Penrith have strength and quality all over the park, but the Rabbitohs will have to keep an eye on Stephen Crichton, who loves playing against them. 

The centre has scored seven tries in his past eight games against Souths and can be backed at 2.80 to score at anytime on Thursday night.  

As far as team news for the Panthers is concerned, Liam Martin misses out as he battles a hamstring injury, so Scott Sorensen returns to the side and takes the No.11 jersey.

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Mitchell the man for Souths 

The Rabbitohs have an extra incentive on Thursday night as they play their 200th game at Accor Stadium, and they will be hoping their home support can give them the edge. 

They will need to improve greatly on the performance they put in earlier in the season, especially when it comes to their completion rate. 

It was down at 68 percent that night as they managed to complete just 24 out of 35 sets, and a similar rate will leave them with plenty to do in the rematch. 

However Jason Demetriou’s side have impressed in the last two games when smashing the Bulldogs 50-16 and the Dolphins 36-14. 

Gun fullback Latrell Mitchell is also starting to hit top form once again. He answered the critics with a hat-trick of tries against the Bulldogs and needs just another nine points to reach 1000 NRL career points. 

Mitchell is priced at 3.10 to score at anytime and he is the kind of player that will rise to the occasion here. 

The Bunnies will be missing Keaon Koloamatangi, who has a leg injury, so Michael Chee Kam will come back into the side, but Demetriou has most of his big guns available. 

Cody Walker and Lachlan Ilias will pair up in the halves and their battle against opposite numbers Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai will be interesting to say the least.

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