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NRL preliminary final match-ups

NRL PRELIMINARY FINAL MATCH-UPS

Friday

FIRST PRELIMINARY FINAL

South Sydney v Manly at ANZ Stadium, 7:45pm

2013 results: Rabbitohs 20-12 at Brookvale Oval, rd 7; Rabbitohs 22-10 at Bluetongue Stadium, rd 23

Why Souths can win: They're rested and coming off a confidence boosting performance in the opening week of the finals
NRL preliminary final match-ups
by AAP

NRL PRELIMINARY FINAL MATCH-UPS

Friday

FIRST PRELIMINARY FINAL

South Sydney v Manly at ANZ Stadium, 7:45pm

2013 results: Rabbitohs 20-12 at Brookvale Oval, rd 7; Rabbitohs 22-10 at Bluetongue Stadium, rd 23

Why Souths can win: They're rested and coming off a confidence boosting performance in the opening week of the finals. If the week off improved Greg Inglis' knee just ten per cent, then it would have been worth it. They have also beaten Manly in both encounters this year.

Why Souths can't win: Pressure. It's all on the Bunnies. They have plenty of time to think about this game with the week off, which could affect the mindset of young halfback Adam Reynolds, who struggled in his last much-hyped encounter against the Sydney Roosters in the last game of the regular season.

Why Manly can win: The Sea Eagles know how to win in September, as their performance over Cronulla on the weekend showed. In both games against the Rabbitohs this year they have been in the contest right up until the death. They may also get Brett Stewart back to boost their point-scoring threat.

Why Manly can't win: Two tough finals have Manly running on empty. They were out of gas in that semi-final against the Sharks, just holding on at the death. Anthony Watmough (knee) looks less than 100 per cent, and the Sea Eagles need him to compete with a big Souths pack.

Saturday

SECOND PRELIMINARY FINAL

Sydney Roosters v Newcastle at Allianz Stadium, 7:45pm

2013 result: Roosters 28-12 at Hunter Stadium, rd 20

Why the Roosters can win: They can win pretty - as they have done on many occasions this year, or ugly - as they did against Manly in their 4-0 qualifying final win. They are fit and well-rested, and will get Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (suspension) and maybe Boyd Cordner (ankle) back this week.

Why the Roosters can't win: Like Souths, there is plenty of pressure on the Roosters, especially with question marks over whether Sonny Bill Williams will be back next year. It may be a case of now or never for the Roosters.

Why Newcastle can win: The Knights just keep jumping hurdles that are put in front of them, with their win over Melbourne their first over a top-four side all year. They have plenty of big-match experience, and halves Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts are in career-best form.

Why Newcastle can't win: Do they have the strikepower to trouble the best defence in the league? Manly had all the ball and field position yet failed to score a point in week one of the finals. And their gruelling schedule may just catch up with the Knights, with plenty of old legs in the squad.




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