It's going to be a big week for the Rabbitohs in the wake of the great Greg Inglis's retirement.
The Rabbitohs must've sensed it was coming after watching GI battle various injuries over the past few years and it might go some way toward explaining their distracted performances over the last three rounds.
Now that Inglis has made the announcement, the Bunnies should start getting back to their best as they adjust to life without his formidable presence on the field.
There'll be a lot of emotion in the build-up to Friday's clash and Souths will no doubt have a "let's do it for GI" approach.
The Bulldogs were brought crashing back to earth by the Dragons last week and will have to bounce back strongly this week to stay in touch with the top teams.
Bulldogs: Adam Elliott has been promoted to start at lock with Rhyse Martin dropping to the bench. Winger Reimis Smith has scored nine tries in his past nine games. Christian Crichton and Marcelo Montoya were culled from the squad on Thursday. Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Fa'amanu Brown were dropped on Friday.
Rabbitohs: In their first match after Greg Inglis's retirement announcement earlier in the week, Souths are favourites to win over Canterbury. George Burgess has switched positions with interchange prop Junior Tatola in the team named an hour before-kick-off. The Rabbitohs have won their past three clashes against the Bulldogs. Rhys Kennedy and Jacob Gagan were omitted from the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off with Bayley Sironen and Connor Tracey suffering the same fate on Friday.
With the Rabbitohs going through a testing out period in the centres, the Bulldogs might think they have an edge in Will Hopoate and Kerrod Holland. Both have been in solid form and the Bunnies will have to be on guard, especially with Holland's tendency to off-load.
For the Bulldogs to win
Dean Pay will be hoping last week was an aberration of sorts and that the real Bulldogs showed up in the previous two games. They need to tighten up the defence after the Dragons posted 40 on Sunday, while the forwards are going to have to be extra strong against a big Souths pack.
For the Rabbitohs to win
They'll be riding a tsunami of emotion in the wake of GI's exit but that will only get them so far against a team that has shown it can compete, despite last week's hammering. The Burgess boys need to lead from the front and keep the errors down, while the outside backs have to out-shine a capable Bulldogs backline.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Dogs have been both great and poor this year. They conceded 40 points last weekend, they really need to get their defence back in order. Souths have been going great. Damien Cook has been great going out of dummy half, I think he’ll have a real field day against the tiring Canterbury defence. Rabbitohs by 10.
Bulldogs Stat Attack
He made a horrible blunder when he forced a pass close to his own line last week but Kerrod Holland leads the NRL in off-loads (19), while Will Hopoate shares top spot with Clint Gutherson in all runs (99).
Rabbitohs Stat Attack
Cody Walker's four-try haul against the Warriors rocketed him to top spot among try-scorers (6), while Adam Reynolds has kicked 20 goals to be equal leader with Latrell Mitchell.
And another thing ...
They've locked horns plenty of times in the last five years and it's not as though they share a bitter rivalry, but a lot of Rabbitohs fans will never forget who the Bunnies beat in the 2014 grand final to claim the club's first premiership in 43 years. Souths prevailed 30-6 after scores were locked at 6-6 with 25 minutes remaining. Rabbitohs fans shed tears of joy when Greg Inglis scored the game's final try in the 80th minute.