Souths at home in Homebush ahead of Moore Park return
South Sydney's clash with Parramatta looms as an audition for the Rabbitohs to make Allianz Stadium their permanent home, but coach Jason Demetriou insists he is happy staying put at Homebush.
The NSW government blocked the Rabbitohs from relocating home games to the new $800m Moore Park venue when it opened late last year, despite its close proximity to the club's spiritual home of Redfern.
Souths were incensed by the call at the time, blaming Allianz's highest-profile tenants and bitter rivals the Sydney Roosters for locking them out.
The Rabbitohs are committed to Accor Stadium through 2030, but speculation had been that the NSW government's decision to scrap a proposed update to the Homebush venue could have helped them break the lease.
The Rabbitohs have since reaffirmed their commitment to Accor Stadium and will continue taking nine of their 12 home games per season there, with that number reduced to eight this year to make way for the FIFA Women's World Cup.
In recent times, Souths have taken fixtures to Dubbo, the Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Perth and Gosford, but opted to relocate this week's Indigenous Round clash with Parramatta to Allianz Stadium.
The Rabbitohs' previous three games there against the Roosters have drawn an average crowd of 39,348 fans, and their victory in the brutal 2022 elimination final led fullback Latrell Mitchell to christen it "Trellianz'' Stadium.
"If we get the job done (against the Eels), then I'm happy to call it that," Demetriou said.
The coach was emphatic in his support for the Allianz Stadium move last year, and while he said another packed house could put the NSW government on notice, he remained at ease with the Rabbitohs' current digs.
"There's an opportunity for us to showcase what the club can bring to the facility," Demetriou said.
"But at the same time, I'm comfortable where we're playing now.
"We've got a lot of supporters in the western corridor that love us playing out there. We've got a lot of supporters that want us to come here (to Allianz).
"I'll worry about what goes on out on the field there and let the powers that be decide where we play."
Rabbitohs try-scoring ace Alex Johnston shrugged at suggestions of a permanent move.
"I wouldn't mind playing there every week, it's pretty good, but personally I like playing at Accor," he said.
"I've got a good track record scoring tries there. It doesn't affect me either way."
Thomas Burgess will miss the game with the back injury that ruled him out of the Rabbitohs' win over the Wests Tigers.
Fellow prop Shaq Mitchell is closing in on a return from his foot injury.
"It's nothing long-term, but fingers crossed (Burgess) will be right for next week, if not it'll be the week after," Demetriou said.
"(Mitchell) will play 30 minutes in reserve grade this week.
"It's a real bonus having him fit and ready leading into this Origin period."