By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 24 – South Sydney Rabbitohs V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – Friday, ANZ Stadium. 19.45 local time, 21.45NZT.
LAST WEEK: It took South Sydney a solid second half performance against Manly-Warringah to make sure a 22-10 result was in their favour.
Canterbury-Bankstown sealed their finals hopes with a 28-16 win over the Canberra Raiders
THIS WEEK: South Sydney looked a lot better with the return of their starts from injury, but still aren’t sitting at the top of the table. With a massive game on the cards here. another stand out performance needs to be delivered. If Souths can maintain a quality game for eighty minutes they’ll be in with a chance to win. No easy opponent, and it has to start from the get go.
Canterbury started the season so slow and injury-plagued that to be in this position they are now shows true grit from the young guys as well as the old heads to overcome what would have been a tough period. Now flying high with four wins from their last five starts they will continue to do what’s right in order to win.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The Rabbitohs are a tough team, and a team that have plenty of ticker. It will be interesting to see how they go after a mammoth game last weekend. I think this side has been building for something big. I think if their forward pack shine, it’s all bread and butter for the backs.
Bulldogs are always a nuggety bunch, and can always get a result when they really need one. A lot of players individually have stood up for them this season making a name for themselves. A youngish group of guys going up for the biggest test of their lives almost in this one. A dedicated performance all around I think. There won’t be many lapses in concentration.
THE BATTLE OF: The Custodians. Greg Inglis is the best player in the world, and it shows whenever he makes an appearance anywhere in the backline. Whether it’s from the centres, five-eighth of fullback he monsters his way through the defence and makes the game of rugby league look extremely easy..
Sam Perrett hasn’t spent all that much time at fullback in his life, but with a hat-trick last week he must have done something right. One extremely talented Kiwi making a mark where ever he’s playing in the backline also.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Chris McQueen – Having a stellar season and made his debut for Queensland who retained their eighth straight Origin title, sky’s the limit for this bloke who is either busting out of tackles, putting his body on the line or reaching up for a bomb, he is a player that won’t let you down.
Josh Reynolds has been a bit quiet after his Origin debut, and I think he will be the first to admit it also. A big game here could really see the match sway in favour of the Bulldogs.
I salivate over the prospect of this match. So much could happen. There’s so much riding on the line for both teams really despite them both already in the eight. This one is going to golden point. 27-26 Rabbitohs
Follow Stephen Gallagher on Twitter