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NRL Match Preview: Round 6 v Rabbitohs

Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon anticipates a fierce response from the Rabbitohs under adversity and has prepared his troops accordingly for Saturday night's Round 6 clash at Accor Stadium.

Refreshed after a bye, with second-rower Briton Nikora back from suspension and prop Toby Rudolf rated a good chance to return from a syndesmosis injury, Cronulla can solidify a position in the top four against 17th-placed South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs will go into the match without suspended superstar Latrell Mitchell after a week of media scrutiny, but they remain dangerous with representative players scattered across their line-up.

Rather than buying into what's happening in the rival camp, the Sharks are focused on leaving the barriers cleanly following their most recent effort against the Raiders in which they trailed 18-0 before scoring a 36-22 victory.

"We'll have to worry about our performance," Fitzgibbon said.

The Coach's Mail - Round 6

"We're looking to get a little bit more consistent in parts of our game. We missed the kick pretty poorly against Canberra. We know we'll have to start better this week. That'll be important to get ourselves into the contest, making sure it's a good game and a flowing game. I think that suits both teams."

To accommodate the addition of Nikora on the right edge, Siosifa Talakai has moved to the bench – he started the season at centre before playing as a second-rower in Round 4 – with Kayal Iro remaining in the No.4 jersey.

"Kayal's done really well, that's why we were confident in giving him another crack," Fitzgibbon said, referring to Iro's impressive game against the Raiders.

"We have to acknowledge Sifa was probably our best player for the first three rounds and I feel like we've got Sifa back to where he needs to be.

"He's been really selfless, Sifa, in walking in and understanding the situation. He said, 'Coach, I'll go and play back-row, middle, whatever you need'.

"We knew we've got Kayal there, he knew we've got Kayal there, we've trained them both extensively this year in the centres ... I know both players will be part of our squad moving forward, so I'll probably play that one week at a time."

South Sydney have shuffled their side, notably dropping NSW Origin hooker Damien Cook to 18th man and opting for Peter Mamouzelos at dummy-half.

While not delving into any of the off-field topics involving the opposition, Fitzgibbon expects the Bunnies to be fired up after a 34-4 loss to the Warriors.

"Generally, off the back of a (tough) week, you've got to rally the troops and it garners a response. Souths are a well-built club and a strong club, so we're preparing for the best version of those guys," the Cronulla mentor said.

The Rabbitohs have previously struggled in Mitchell's absence, having lost five of their past six games sans the talismanic fullback, but his stint on the sidelines has opened the door for Jye Gray to make his NRL debut.

"Bringing in a debutant gives a team an energy, gives them an excitement, so we'll have to be ready for Jye Gray. He looks a good player," Fitzgibbon said.

"We've been looking at some stuff on him this week and he looks like he's ready to debut, so we'll have our hands full either way."

Last time the teams met was in Round 23 in 2023, with Cronulla prevailing 26-16 before a huge crowd at Optus Stadium in Perth. They now have the chance to secure consecutive wins over Souths for the first time since 2015.

Sharks forward Teig Wilton said his side are ready for a "dog fight".

"I think everyone understands it's going to be an intense game, but we don't really talk as a group about anything off-field," Wilton said.

"We more look at Souths from a tactical standpoint."

Hooker Blayke Brailey added: "I don't think it's ever a good time coming up against Souths; they're always a great side every year and they've got some star-studded players. We'll be on our best game and putting our best foot forward."

See the updated 19-man team lists below. Kick-off on Saturday is at 7.35pm EST. 

If you can't attend the game, watch the action live on Foxtel or Kayo.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Jye Gray
    Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Tyrone Munro
    Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Jack Wighton
    Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
  • Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Isaiah Tass
    Centre for Sharks is number 4 Kayal Iro
  • Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Taane Milne
    Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
  • Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
    Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Braydon Trindall
  • Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Dean Hawkins
    Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes


  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
    Prop for Sharks is number 8 Thomas Hazelton
  • Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Peter Mamouzelos
    Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
  • Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
    Prop for Sharks is number 10 Oregon Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
  • 2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jacob Host
    2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton
  • Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
    Lock for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnes


  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Michael Chee Kam
    Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Jack Williams
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Siliva Havili
    Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Siosifa Talakai
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Shaquai Mitchell
    Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Tuku Hau Tapuha
  • Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Davvy Moale
    Interchange for Sharks is number 20 Toby Rudolf


  • Replacement for Rabbitohs is number 19 Jacob Gagai
    Replacement for Sharks is number 18 Daniel Atkinson

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Adam Gee

Last updated:

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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