Rugby league rivalries are set to go into overdrive as the South Sydney Rabbitohs booked a preliminary final date with the Sydney Roosters, this Saturday night, at Allianz Stadium from 7.40pm EST.
After defeating the St. George Illawarra Dragons 13-12 off the back off Adam Reynolds' boot, South Sydney are just 80 minutes away from a second Grand Final berth in the space of four years. Their counterparts the Roosters kicked back for the week following their 21-12 victory over the Cronulla Sharks in week one of the NRL Finals series.
Despite finishing the season on the equal amount of Premiership points, the Roosters were able to take out the Minor Premiership courtesy of a higher points differential.
HEAD TO HEAD
Since 1908 it is the Rabbitohs who hold the edge over their Eastern Sydney rivals with 240 matches played in total, amassing 124 wins, 110 loses and 6 draws.
The last time these two sides battled it out for bragging rights was back in Round 22 when the Roosters hung on to win 18-14 in front of 26,331 at ANZ Stadium. Prior to this, it was Souths who struck first in 2018 with a 26-14 win, giving club hero Jason Clark a night to remember during his 150th first grade appearance.
WHO WILL LINE UP?
Bump and bruises will do little to stop the squad from lining up with Adam Doueihi (ACL) the only noticeable absentee from the side. Greg Inglis was hit with a grade one dangerous contact charge during Saturday night's win over the St. George Illawarra Dragons but is free to take the field following an early guilty plea.
For the Roosters, prop Siosiua Taukeiaho was cleared of a serious ankle injury and is expected to line up on Saturday and take over the kicking duties from Latrell Mitchell who will be watching from the sidelines after being found guilty of a crusher tackle on Cronulla's Josh Dugan. Joining him will be Dylan Napa as he serves out the final week of his suspension from a sickening head clash on Brisbane rake, Andrew McCullough.
Coincidentally enough, the two sides met in the corresponding final back in 2014, when South Sydney overcame an early 12 point deficit to surge home with 32-22 victory. In what became one of the most memorable wins in recent times, became even better for Greg Inglis who celebrated his 200th game in style by bagging a double.
The match was also remembered for the ferocity that interchange forward Ben Te'o was injected into the game during the 15th minute mark when Souths were down 12-0 after quick tries to Pearce and Minichiello. His rampaging runs and running battle with Kiwi prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was a real highlight but it was his four pointer early in the second half which will forever be remembered.
Running off a short ball from Sam Burgess Te'o burst through line carrying Roosters' hooker Jake Friend with him in what was described by commentator Peter Sterling as 'a power play.' From there, South Sydney didn't look back as they piled on the points to storm into their first Grand Final appearance in over 43 years – The rest is history.