Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs meet again in the final round of the NRL regular season with positions on the ladder still up for grabs. Unlike last year the winner is not guaranteed the Minor Premiership, but a home game in week one of the finals series is at stake.
Another bumper crowd is expected at Allianz Stadium to witness the latest clash between the oldest rivals in rugby league. Games between these two are rarely dull under any circumstance, but with silverware potentially on the line another classic is on the cards.
Souths appeared to have the momentum to claim top spot until two weeks ago when they were defeated by the Cowboys. Despite grinding their way to victory against the Bulldogs last Thursday, the performance was error strewn and far from convincing. What they did show was that they can tough it out against any side, no matter how much of a wrestling match the contest descends into.
The Rabbitohs emerged from that scrap with plenty of key men carrying bumps and bruises. However, the likes of Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess appear to have pulled through, meaning the only loss is the suspended Adam Reynolds. Club captain John Sutton has recovered from injury in time to take Reynolds’ place in the halves
The Roosters finally seem to be recapturing their Premiership winning form, and their timing could not be any better. Their defensive display against the Storm on Saturday was reminiscent of their shutout of Manly in the opening week of the finals in 2013.
While their defence was the key to overcoming Melbourne, it should also be pointed out that the return to form of James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce allows them to punish the opposition on the scoreboard. It is no coincidence that the Roosters were struggling in mid-season when Maloney and Pearce were far from their best and overlooked by New South Wales for the State of Origin series.
Thursday 4th September, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:45