The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Roosters-Souths brace for epic decider

It's an epic battle 45 years in the making, the last time the NRL's two foundation clubs - South Sydney and Sydney Roosters - went head-to-head with a title on the line.
Roosters-Souths brace for epic decider
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Sept 2 AAP - It's an epic battle 45 years in the making, the last time the NRL's two foundation clubs - South Sydney and Sydney Roosters - went head-to-head with a title on the line.

While the talk out of both camps has centred on the fact they are both eyeing the big one on October 6, bragging rights, title favouritism and the JJ Giltinan Shield will all be on offer in Friday night's minor premiership-deciding blockbuster at ANZ Stadium.

With the minor premiership going to the side that wins the final-round climax is a rarity.

It has occurred just three times in the last 50 years - including once between the bitter local rivals in 1968.

NRL officials are hopeful of attracting in excess of 50,000 people to ANZ Stadium on Friday night, with Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves doing little to hide the enormity of the occasion.

"I can't wait," the Kiwi Test prop told the Roosters website.

"This has been the game that everyone's talked about all year - first and second.

"Words can't really describe how excited we are to get out there and have a good test."

The hype surrounding the clash may go some way to explaining the Roosters' lacklustre performance against Gold Coast on Sunday - the tri-colours going into the contest knowing that they could not change the fact the minor premiership would be decided in the final round.

While eagerly anticipating the clash, Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire admitted his side had their sights set on grander accomplishments, with the Bunnies eyeing their first title since 1971.

"That's (the minor premiership) something we'd like to achieve along the way, but the boys are pretty focused on on what's in front of us over this next month," Maguire said.

While the minor premiership title by its nature does not carry any bonus heading into the finals series, the top placed team could ensure they avoid a daunting trip to Melbourne during the finals.

The Storm, who shape as the biggest obstacle to a Roosters-Rabbitohs decider, are likely to finish fourth - placing them in a match against the minor premiers in week one of the finals.

Even if the Storm won that contest, there would be no-way the minor premiers could be matched-up against the reigning premiers before the grand final.

Rugby league Immortal and two-time premiership winner Andrew Johns said the Roosters - who have lost two games in a row for the first time this year - had a greater need to win than the Bunnies.

"South Sydney are firing, you don't want to go into the semi-finals losing three games in a row," Johns said on Triple M.

"This time of year it's all about momentum and at the moment they're (the Roosters) really struggling for rhythm.

"I'd be worried if I was going into the semi-finals losing three games in a row."

Roosters hooker Jake Friend brushed off concerns about the late slump.

"We're disappointed in our last two performances obviously, but we're not worried," Friend said.

"We've worked hard to get where we are and are sure we can have a big week."


Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories