PREVIEW: Round 26, 2015
Roosters v Rabbitohs
Friday, Kick-off 7.45pm
Rugby League’s oldest and fiercest rivalry re-ignites for the 212th time this Friday night at Allianz Stadium, with the Rabbitohs set to take on the Roosters in a final round, Ron Coote Cup blockbuster.
Victory for the Roosters will almost certainly see the Eastern Suburbs club take the Minor Premiership, while a Rabbitohs victory will go a long way to propelling the side further up the competition ladder with the potential to finish as high as fourth pending other favourable results.
The importance of the occasion hasn’t been lost on Souths Head Coach, Michael Maguire, who this week called on Rabbitohs Members and supporters everywhere to turn Allianz Stadium into a sea of red and green in Round 26.
“It’s always a game (where) the fans turn out and we’re looking forward to getting plenty of red and green,” said Maguire.
“Get out there and make plenty of noise. I always say that you add to who we are as a team, so I’m looking forward to seeing you out there.”
Both teams will be looking to finish their respective seasons on a high. Indeed, few team’s seasons have reached the heights of the Roosters’ with the Bondi club last going down on the score-board way back in Round 13 against the Sharks.
“They’re breaking records at the moment,” said Maguire of the Roosters,
“The Roosters are a team that run really hard and have been excelling in various areas of the game and for us – we want to get out and play for each other and play for our fans.
“It’s a game that we just want to really enjoy. It’s something that we get pride out of doing and bringing our fans into the game.”
The Rabbitohs will be without skipper, Greg Inglis, for the second week after the Test fullback sustained a knee injury against the Bulldogs in Round 24 that required minor surgery. Maguire indicated that Inglis will likely be ready for Week 1 of the Finals, having already started running this week.
“Greg’s improvement is coming along,” said Maguire.
“He’s starting to run now and we’ll assess him as the week goes by. Obviously we’ll take care around that decision.
“With Alex (Johnston) out the back there, he’ll get another opportunity there this week. The boys are really just heads down and focussing on the things that we can control and enjoy what we’re doing.
“The whole reason why we do this is to get to this point.”
In other positional news, Rabbitohs young-gun Cameron McInnes will get another shot at hooker this week with the suspension of Issac Luke for a shoulder charge. Maguire is confident of the Souths Junior’s ability and is looking forward to his involvement in the match.
“I thought Cam played really well when he came in a couple of weeks ago,” said Maguire.
“His time on the field with the boys is just going to get better and better with experience. He’s a quality player and he’s going to be one of the future.”
Roosters v Rabbitohs
Friday, Kick-off 5.20pm
There’s no next week for South Sydney’s Under 20s – the side now consigned to finish the season in 16th position on the NYC ladder. But with no tomorrow, there’s everything to play for.
It’s fifth against 16th this Friday night at Allianz Stadium and for the Roosters, victory is a must to retain their position on the ladder with the Tigers and Warriors both within striking distance.
The Rabbitohs are no strangers to the art of giant slaying though, having gotten a positive win in Round 25 against the Broncos at Allianz Stadium in what was a character-filled showing from Troy Finch’s men.
Despite being down on the score-board by 24-6 at half-time, Souths hit back and clawed their way into contention, keeping the Broncos scoreless in the second stanza to score a 26-24.
The Rabbitohs scored what is sure to have been one of the tries of the season through Damon Goolagong during the match – a try that went through some 10 sets of hands and included three kicks before the winger ran in to score.