For the second year in a row South Sydney Rabbitohs head to ANZ Stadium just one win away from the NRL Grand Final. This Friday night they will hope for a better outcome than in last year’s Preliminary Final against the Bulldogs, when Adam Reynolds’ torn hamstring effectively ended their chances of making it through to the decider. In their path this time is a side that have already been to the Grand Final on three occasions in the past six seasons – Manly Sea Eagles.
Both games between these two sides during the regular season were incredibly physical affairs – in particular the round seven clash at Brookvale Oval – so expect the same again on Friday night. There were some unsavoury incidents in those games as well, with players from both sides serving suspensions as a result. A lot of talk in the build up has surrounded the potential for revenge, but with a Grand Final maybe only a week away it should be expected that both sides will try to avoid any needless confrontation.
The forward packs will again be the area where the game is won or lost, and Souths have been the strongest side in this department all season. It could prove telling that the Rabbitohs had last week off, whereas Manly looked exhausted in the final stages of their win over Cronulla. Jamie Lyon, Jamie Buhrer and Anthony Watmough are among those who are nursing knocks, however the Sea Eagles are boosted by the almost certain return of star fullback Brett Stewart. His contest with Souths counterpart Greg Inglis is a truly mouth watering prospect.
All tickets to this match include rail and bus travel to and from the stadium. Sydney Olympic Park Special Events Buses are also operating on the usual routes – just don’t get caught out by the surprisingly early last bus departing at 22:15.
Friday 27th September, ANZ Stadium Homebush 19:45
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles