Bulldogs.com.au takes a look at five key areas that are good and bad for the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of their clash with the Bulldogs.
#1: LACK SECOND PHASE
The Rabbitohs sit in fourth position on the ladder and although they have the ability to score points through speedsters Greg Inglis, Dylan Walker and Alex Johnston – offloading and creating second phase play is not part of their game plan.
The Rabbitohs are ranked 16th in the NRL for offloads with a total of 133 for the year, averaging only 6 per game game.
They play conservative footy by kicking long and playing through the middle with their forwards.
#2: ISSAC LUKE A HUGE LOSS
The Rabbitohs will be without the most damaging hooker in the game.
Luke will serve a one match ban this week for a grade one dangerous throw from the Rabbitohs win over the Cowboys in round 23.
The area he will be missed most is around the dummy-half area.
The Rabbitohs are ranked number one in the NRL for average dummy-half metres per game with the reigning premiers running for 127.2m per game and the main contributor to this outstanding stat is Issac Luke.
Luke averages 10 runs per game and 76m per game from dummy half, almost 60% of the total average dummy-half metres the Rabbitohs make per game.
This stat alone proves how much the Rabbitohs will miss the Kiwi Interntional.
#3: STRAIGHT UP THE MIDDLE
The Rabbitohs are team that build their footy around their forwards and playing straight through the middle of teams.
Firstly, they lack second phase because they are ranked 16th in the NRL for offloads and the second stat that confirms they do not like to play expansive footy is that they are ranked 15th in the NRL for shifts.
Surprising? Yes, especially when you have strike out wide with the likes of Johnston, Walker, Inglis and a very smart half-back in Adam Reynolds.
The Rabbitohs average 10 shifts per game and with a number of key men missing including Issac Luke, Luke Keary and potentially John Sutton and Dylan Walker, you can expect a game played up the middle third of ANZ Stadium.
#4: STRONG BACK 5
The Rabbitohs backed five have been a standout for the red and green in 2015 led by the full-back Greg Inglis.
The Rabbitohs are ranked number three in the NRL for average kick return metres per game with 104.5 and Inglis contributes 44.6 of those metres per game.
The Rabbitohs back five are 2nd in the NRL for tackle breaks, 1st in the NRL for line breaks, 1st in the NRL for line break assist, 2nd in the NRL for try assist, 2nd in the NRL for tries and 12th in the NRL for errors made.
They will have their work cut for them up against the Bulldogs back five.
RABBITOHS BACK 5: Inglis, Johnston, Walker, Auva’a, Goodwin.
#5: BURGESS BROTHERS AND GREVSMUHL KEY
The South Sydney Rabbitohs rely so much on the Burgess brothers and Chris Grevsmuhl to get their sets started and lay a platform for their attack because when these gents get a roll on, find their stomachs and get a quick play the ball, it equates to 37% of the total tries the Rabbitohs have scored in 2015.
The Rabbitohs have the second best play the ball in the NRL in attack, while we have the third and the Rabbitohs are ranked number two in the NRL for fastest play the ball in the NRL.
The man that leads the way for the fourth placed Rabbitohs is George Burgess.
Burgess averages 15 runs per game and wins nine out of his 15 play the balls.
He averages 51.8 metres post contact per game and averages 142.3m per game.
If the Bulldogs do a great job on the Burgess brothers and Grevsmuhl who comes from the interchange, it will make for a tough night for the Rabbitohs who are also missing Issac Luke, a key man who runs off the back of these quick play the balls.