PREVIEW: Rd 17, 2017
Rabbitohs v Panthers
As the financial year draws to a close, the business end of the rugby league season kicks into gear with two teams walking the finals tightrope set to do battle in a high stakes clash at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Most people think that Souths need to pull a rabbit out of the hat to make the finals, but following their 36-20 win over the Titans in Round 15 and last week's two points courtesy of the bye, there's a quiet confidence at Redfern that if they can beat the Panthers on Sunday and then take care of an understrength Roosters side next week, then anything is possible.
The Panthers are in a slightly better position but will be kicking themselves after the Cowboys performed their own Houdini act to snatch a remarkable victory at the death in tropical conditions up north, leaving Penrith on the outside looking in with 10 rounds remaining.
The Rabbitohs have made several changes to the side that took care of the Titans with Sam Burgess returning at lock, Aaron Gray starting at centre in place of Hymel Hunt (thumb), while George Burgess goes back to the bench with Kyle Turner dropping out of the 17.
It's smooth sailing for the Panthers who have named the same 17 that lost in Townsville.
The Rabbitohs got the job done without him in Round 15 and now the Rabbitohs are set to welcome back Sam Burgess for their must-win clash on Sunday afternoon. The inspirational Englishman has a fantastic record against the Panthers with six wins from eight appearances and has scored three tries in his last two matches against the men from the foot of the mountains. He'll be fresh after a fortnight off so expect him to be at his brilliant best this weekend.