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'Tough road ahead': How far can Souths go without Latrell?

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28th August, 2021

With superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell expected to miss up to five weeks, I have decided to weigh in on what Wayne Bennett should do in terms of team selection, especially at fullback.

Latrell was put on report and is expected to miss a lot of game time after shoulder charging Roosters centre Joseph Manu in what was really very heavy contact. I would like to send my best wishes to Manu as he is set to miss the rest of the season with a fractured cheekbone.

The Bunnies have the Dragons next Saturday night in the final round of the regular season, so I’m guessing that players like Adam Reynolds, Damien Cook and possibly Cameron Murray will be rested ahead of their clash with Penrith in Week 1 of the finals.

I would like to see young fullback Blake Taaffe have a run at fullback, and, if he plays well, then I want to see him play fullback against Penrith because Souths don’t really have another fullback option.

Cody Walker could play fullback, with Taaffe playing five-eighth, as Walker did play four games at fullback when Latrell wasn’t in the side. However, this is very unlikely, as I’m sure Bennett will already know his squad heading into the last round of the regular season and for when the finals come around.

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The pairing of Jaxson Paulo and Campbell Graham for Souths looked very solid in defence which is very good and would give Bennett a lot of confidence heading towards final. It’s really been a battle of that wing position on the right side between Paulo and Taane Milne, who is also a very good defensive player.

The Rabbitohs forwards were really good against the Roosters and created a lot of forward momentum for their playmakers to produce their magic in attack but they really need to keep that spirit up for when they play the top teams like Penrith and the Melbourne Storm because they are very likely to do so during the finals campaign.

Souths will lose to Penrith in Week 1 of the finals, but they will then play one of the bottom four teams in the eight. I’m sure they will win that game and in the grand final qualifier they will take on the Storm.

It’s a tough road ahead for the Rabbitohs during this finals campaign but they still have stars all around the park in Walker, Reynolds, Cook, Murray and Alex Johnston, so I’m sure they can deal damage to teams but whether they have the fight in them to win against Penrith or Melbourne remains to be seen.