Souths to target 'hopeless', 'poor' Manly flaw

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Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler are tipping a classic, tight preliminary final to unfold tonight as the Rabbitohs clash with Manly but have warned the Sea Eagles they need to tighten up a significant area of weakness or they'll pay the price.

Johns is tipping Manly to win the match by one point, admitting he "can't split them" but giving the narrow edge to the Sea Eagles due to the Tom Trbojevic factor.

Scroll below for the current leaderboard and week three finals tips by Johns, Fittler and all Nine's expert tipsters!

However he concedes that the game may shift in the Rabbitohs' favour unless Manly's right edge of Haumole Olakau'atu, Daly Cherry-Evans and Morgan Harper get on the same page in defence.

Morgan Harper will have a huge defensive assignment against the Rabbitohs. (Getty)

Johns described that defensive trio's work together against the Roosters as "really poor", with Fittler adding that they were "hopeless" in the first half before improving after the break.

And with the Rabbitohs known for their lethal left edge attack, led by the scheming of star five-eighth Cody Walker, a repeat performance would spell disaster.

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"The right side defence of Manly was really poor last week. There's three players; Olakau'atu, DCE and Morgan Harper, and their movements off the ball, their decision making, they all weren't on the same page," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Freddy and The Eighth.

"Now if they do that against that left-side attack from the Rabbitohs I think there's going to be some tries down that edge."

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While that factor has Johns concerned about Manly's chances of progressing to the grand final, he said the result could come down to a man on man shootout between two of the most gifted attacking weapons in the compeitition, and there he gives the edge to the Sea Eagles.

"I can't split them, I've been looking at the teams and looking at this and that and I think it will come down to an act of sheer brilliance and I look at the two teams and who provides that?" Johns asked.

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"It's either Turbo or Cody Walker. And I'd probably back Turbo to just provide that moment where he breaks out and just does something out of the box and I think that'll be Turbo. I think they win by one point, Manly."

Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs looms as key to unlocking a Manly flaw. (Getty)

Elsewhere Fittler pointed to the bench battle as a potential key that will determine who qualifies for the grand final, flagging front-row destroyer Tom Burgess as a man the Sea Eagles must contain to win.

"I think one of the things they're going to have to confront is big Tom Burgess coming off the bench," Fittler said.

"I think Paseka's got a really big job, he needs to have a similar impact and be able to contain big Tom Burgess.

"And the other one's Schuster, I felt like I think Des has told him, you know, 'just calm your game down, play a bit more percentage'.

"It'll be interesting how he plays because there's not many players who can do what he does, you've got a ball-player one wider."

Nine's NRL tipping leaderboard. (Nine)

Andrew Johns: Sea Eagles, Storm

Brad Fittler: Sea Eagles, Panthers

Wally Lewis: Rabbitohs, Storm

Peter Sterling: Rabbitohs, Storm

Paul Gallen: Rabbitohs, Storm

Billy Slater: Sea Eagles, Storm

Darren Lockyer: Rabbitohs, Storm

James Bracey: Rabbitohs, Storm

Mat Thompson: Sea Eagles, Storm

The Mole: Rabbitohs, Storm

Tim Elbra: Sea Eagles, Storm

Ben Glover: Sea Eagles, Panthers

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