Friday, September 27, 2013
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles
Standing between South Sydney and their first grand final appearance in forty-two years, is the Manly Sea Eagles side.
Souths have accounted for Manly on both occasions the two sides have met this year. In round seven the score-line read 20 – 12 before producing a similar margin (22 – 10) in round twenty-three.
Both games were played away from ANZ Stadium and the return to venue is a big plus for South Sydney who possess a 9 – 3 winning record at the ground.
Souths earned their spot here by beating Melbourne in week 1 of the finals. Souths got the jump on Melbourne early, scoring twice in the first 25 minutes of the game.
The good start, combined with some uncharacteristic Melbourne mistakes and two disallowed (somewhat controversially) tries at crucial stages of the match, were enough to see the Rabbitohs hold on (20 – 10)
Another good start for Souths here is imperative. Manly have played two very physical encounters in the past fortnight and Souths, who have had the advantage of not having to play last week, need to start strong. Putting pressure on Manly physically, will go a long way to ensuring victory.
Manly have a much tougher road to this final.
In the first week of the finals, Manly, in a titanic match, lost to competition favourites Sydney Roosters 4 – 0.
To keep their season alive last week, the Sea Eagles again had to dig deep to hold off a fast finishing and tenacious Cronulla outfit, 24 – 18.
Their victory was helped by a good kicking game by half-back Daley Cherry-Evans and again, he’ll need to be on song with the boot not only in attacking mode but, in general play, to ensure Souths are playing from their own territory.
Manly receive a much needed boost with the likely return of fullback Brett Stewart, who returns to the line-up from a hamstring injury that has seen him miss the past three weeks.
Will he provide the injection that will spark Manly to victory in their third tough finals match in as many weeks?
Last time he was in the starting line-up, Manly produced their best performance of the year when comprehensively defeating Melbourne 28 – 8 in round 25. He’s inclusion can not be underestimated.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Bryson Goodwin, Dylan Walker, Dylan Farrell, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Luke Burgess, Issac Luke, Dave Tyrrell, Sam Burgess, Ben Te’o, Jeff Lima
Interchange: Jason Clark, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, George Burgess, Ben Lowe, Luke Keary, Matt King (three to be omitted)
Manly Sea Eagles
Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart
Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, Jamie Buhrer, Tom Symonds, George Rose, Peta Hiku, James Hasson, David Gower (three to be omitted)
Referees: Ben Cummins/Gerard Sutton