By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 26 – South Sydney Rabbitohs V Sydney Roosters – Friday, ANZ Stadium. 19.45 local time, 21.45NZT.
LAST WEEK: South Sydney pulled away to destroy the Wests Tigers 32-18.
Sydney were upset by the Titans, suffering their second loss in a row 30-22
THIS WEEK: So much to play for with the Rabbitohs, the early front runners from the beginning of the season with a few injuries mid-way let the Roosters overtake them. These two last met in round one where the Rabbitohs were miles ahead. They’ll have the confidence to get up against their foundation brothers,
So much to play for with the Roosters. Of course there’s the fact these two have played each other for 105 years but with the minor premiership just a win away means that this could give us a taste of the grand final, just a month early. It’s a massive change in attitude and professionalism since last season. The first time all season they’ve had back to back losses will fire them up.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Tension. Lack of fear. Putting everything on the line at a slice of glory. The J.J Giltinan Shield, which has been in Souths possession eight times previously would be a good fit in the hands of the Rabbitohs. A club with plenty of spirit. These players have it all in front of them, and a win could be the start of something special for the finals series to come.
I talked about professionalism, and I think there’s a massive culture change in that aspect. This club has been outstanding this season. Players who were good are now great, and with a chance to win the Minor Premiership these players can become greats. I expect a sensational performance. Something that will set a bench mark for the finals series.
THE BATTLE OF: Superior Sevens. Adam Reynolds has a legacy that is extended beyond his years. A player that is all class. He is a player that can play 300 games and become a Souths hero. For now, he has a green and white army on his shoulders that want him to excel in the biggest game of his career.
Mitchell Pearce has had big boots to fill, his father one of Australia’s legends of the game. A young man with plenty of NRL and Origin experience he can and will lead the Roosters to glory. His work ethic has grown since the inclusion of James Maloney in the halves.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Dylan Farrell. He has plenty of flair and talent to keep this backline on their toes. He’s a special breed of talent who can be a threat from all over the park.
Jake Friend. In my eye, he’s one of the standout performers in this Roosters outfit in 2013. His physical presence is very imposing. I think he’s one of the big factors to possibly winning this match.
Wow this game is absolutely the biggest and best game for this season. There’s so much talk about this game in the media this week (including this article) about just how big and amazing it’s going to be. I think I speak for everyone when I say if this game is poor quality I’ll be absolutely let down.
I believe however that this will be a dream end to the regular season. It’s so hard to separate these two on paper.
The Roosters will win this one. 24-14. A late try sealing the deal.
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