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This game might've been a formality for the Rabbitohs a couple of months ago but they aren't the same team that tore through the first half of the season.

And while there were positive signs in last week's loss to the Storm, they haven't been able to recapture the red-hot form that yielded nine wins from their first 10 games.

The Bunnies will be in the finals but it's hard to see them surviving very long based on their performances since the Origin period.

The Bulldogs showed once again they can't be taken lightly with last week's come-from-behind win over Wests Tigers and they would love to hurt the top-four prospects of the club that denied them premiership glory in 2014.

The Rundown

Team news

Rabbitohs: A triple boost with Sam Burgess (quad strain), Braidon Burns (hamstring) and Adam Reynolds (back spasms) to play. Tom Burgess starts up front with Liam Knight to come off the bench. Mark Nicholls and Corey Allan dropped off the reserves list on game day. Bayley Sironen and Connor Tracey were left off the extended bench at the 24-hour mark.

Bulldogs: Kieran Foran, Jeremy Marshall-King and Adam Elliott were late inclusions in the starting side, with Jack Cogger and Chris Smith moving to the bench and Ofahiki Ogden and Morgan Harper dropping out of the playing squad. Hooker Michael Lichaa and interchange forward Danny Fualalo were cut from the squad on Friday night.

Key match-up

Cody Walker needed to have a good game against a top team and he did that last week against Melbourne, despite the Bunnies coming up short. Walker and Adam Reynolds know a lot rests on their shoulders if Souths are going to get back to being mentioned in the same breath as the Storm and Roosters as premiership hotshots. The pair will be looking to dominate Dogs duo Lachlan Lewis and Jack Cogger.

For the Rabbitohs to win

Last week they sorted out some of the defensive issues that arose in the Round 20 thrashing from Cronulla without sacrificing their attack. If the Bunnies play with the same precision and purpose against the Dogs they should get more point-scoring opportunities than they did against Melbourne. 

For the Bulldogs to win

Hats off to Dean Pay for keeping his team focused on the process despite being out of finals contention. Not only have they steered clear of the wooden spoon, the Doggies have won four of their past six games and look to be enjoying their footy as much as any team at the moment. They need to keep the Bunnies guessing with varied attack and shut down Walker.

Brett Kimmorley says

Canterbury are going to spoil a few parties in the back part of this season. They have found a way to grind away defensively, they are not leaking a lot of points. They’re also starting to find their niche in attack. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been a huge buy for them. They now have that bit of strike with he and Will Hopoate. For the Rabbitohs, Cody Walker looked back to his best last week. For South Sydney fans that is a good sight. Rabbitohs by 8

Stat Attack

Will Hopoate and Nick Meaney made major contributions to the Bulldogs' upset of the Tigers. The pair combined for 29 runs, 281 metres and 13 tackle breaks. The Dogs had four players make at least 40 tackles - Aiden Tolman (48), Corey Harawira-Naera (45), Dylan Napa (42) and Josh Jackson (40).

And another thing ...

The Rabbitohs got the better of the Bulldogs when they met in round six but it was anything but a landslide victory. The Bunnies scored through Campbell Graham in the second minute before the Dogs locked it up at 6-6 with a try and penalty goal. Adam Reynolds kicked a penalty goal for an 8-6 lead and converted Alex Johnston's 25th-minute try for a 14-6 lead. The scoreboard attendant took the rest of the night off, as the Bunnies scratched out a dour 14-6 win.