By Guest Writer Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: FINALS ROUND TWO – South Sydney Rabbitohs (3) V Canberra Raiders (6) – Saturday, ANZ Stadium. 19.45 local time, 21.45 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: South Sydney were overwhelmed by the occasion in their worst performance of the season – going down to Melbourne 24-6.
It rained points for Canberra as they stuck in for 80 minutes and ran away with it in the end. 34-16 over Cronulla.
THIS WEEK: It’s do or die. If the Rabbitohs performance resembles any of their last it will be die. They have a lot of points in them and they need to start off strong. They are very deserved of their third place this season and they need to prove it. The mammoth forward pack has the might to run over the opposition and their dominance needs to be brought early on. The Rabbits will be better than last week. They have to be.
The Raiders have momentum and coming in to this week that could be the deciding factor. A team that is high on confidence, and high on the ride. They are almost a mirror side to the Rabbitohs, with their gun forwards mixed with the youth out wide. It’s a team that is enjoying their footy, and peaking at the right time of the season. With Jarrod Croker out for the rest of the season they have to find someone who can kick goals.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Effort, pride and a completely different performance to last week. The rev up Maguire gave them last week leads me to believe they will be drilled at training. Back in Sydney is always going to help, but it’s up to the players do stand up and be counted. They have not worked hard all season to let it slip with consecutive finals losses to see them bundle out.
Canberra have already done themselves proud by making the finals. Now with everything seemingly going their way it could be their time. They never looked out of the game last week and if they can match it with Souths they might punish them late just like they did to Cronulla. They have the means to muscle up all over the field.
FINALS X-FACTORS: Dave Taylor. The big man can break a game open with his size and finesse. The Rabbitohs need him to stand up and deliver.
Josh Papalii. He gave it to Paul Gallen all game last week, and will be eyeing up the other big Rabbitohs forwards to get under their skin. Young and tough.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Greg Inglis – The man is a beast, and a beast is hard to tame.
Sandor Earl. Has been electric and in career-best form since playing for Canberra. A try-scoring machine.
I am a firm believer that momentum goes a long way in rugby league; especially finals footy. Raiders to upset the Rabbitohs 30-20.
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