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Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Preliminary Finals Preview and Team News - Roosters and Rabbitohs renew hostilities in preliminary finals

Andrew Hendrie 19 Sep 2018
  • Sydney Roosters face South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL preliminary finals on Saturday night
  • Roosters have won five of the last six encounters between the sides
Roosters face Rabbitohs on Saturday night

For just the third time since 1938, the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs clash in an NRL finals contest as the two sides do battle in Saturday night’s preliminary finals.

The oldest rivalry in rugby league resumes on Saturday night as the Roosters and Rabbitohs meet in a rare finals showdown in the last ever game to be played at Allianz Stadium.

With the Roosters winning 16 of their last 20 finals games at Allianz, they will be confident of returning to the NRL Grand Final, but they face tough opposition in a Rabbitohs side that has produced some thunderous football throughout the 2018 season.

Earning a week off and a direct passage through to the preliminary finals courtesy of their 21-12 victory over the Sharks a fortnight ago, the Roosters are fresh and still riding momentum from finishing the regular season as minor premiers.

It took Trent Robinson’s side a while to get going this season as high-profile recruits James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk settled into the team and developed combinations, but timing is everything in the NRL, and the Roosters have peaked at exactly the right stage - could they be heading for their first Grand Final since 2013?

Souths meanwhile have nice memories of the last time they beat the Roosters in a finals match, which was back in the 2014 preliminary finals before toppling the Bulldogs to win the premiership.

After suffering a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to the Storm in the first week of the finals, the Rabbitohs all of a sudden found themselves in sudden death football against a resurgent Dragons outfit last week, but they showcased immense fight to emerge victorious 13-12 and keep their premiership dream alive.

But has the nature of that win come at a cost? It was an energy-sapping and gruelling duel and the Rabbitohs only have seven days to recover, while the Roosters are fresh and ready to operate at the peak of their powers. The Roosters are in the better position for me and have a great finals record at Allianz - back the Tri-colours home in a close one.

Stats


  • This will be just the third finals clash between the teams since 1938
  • Roosters have won five of their last six meetings
  • Roosters won their last contest 18-14 in Round 22

Teams


Mitchell Aubusson replaces the suspended Latrell Mitchell at centre for the Roosters, with Victor Radley starting in the back row and Nat Butcher joining the bench.

Souths are unchanged after last week's win over the Dragons.

Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Mitchell Aubusson, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Isaac Liu, 13 Victor Radley

Interchange: 14 Lindsay Collins, 15 Zane Tetevano 16 Nat Butcher, 17 Ryan Matterson

Reserves: 18 Matt Ikuvalu, 19 Sean O’Sullivan, 20 Paul Momirovski, 21 Sitili Tupounia

Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess

Interchange: 14 Hymel Hunt, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Dean Britt

Reserves: 18 Braidon Burns, 19 Mark Nicholls, 20 Tevita Tatola, 21 Connor Tracey

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Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Preliminary Finals Preview and Team News - Roosters and Rabbitohs renew hostilities in preliminary finals

For just the third time since 1938, the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs clash in an NRL finals contest as the two sides do battle in Saturday night’s preliminary finals.

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