Can 2012 get any sweeter for Ben Barba? Image courtesy of: couriermail.com.au
Des Hasler’s Bulldogs can add another milestone to their 2012 season with a win over the Rabbitohs in Saturday night’s grand final qualifier. 2012’s form team the Bulldogs chalked up an impressive 17 wins to lift the J. J Giltinan Shield at the end of the regular season and will bid to reach their first grand final since 2004’s loss to the Sydney Roosters. It’s been a far longer time between drinks for the floundering Rabbitohs who will aim to reach their first grand final in 41 years. Issac Luke sparked the Rabbioths attack in last week’s convincing win over the Raiders and has been rewarded with the starting hooker position while the Bulldogs team remains unchanged.
History – Two traditional combatants, these sides have met on 144 occasions with the Bulldogs holding a slight upper hand winning 76 to the Rabbitohs 64 with four drawn games. Only two of these 144 games have been final matches with both teams recording one victory apiece. The Bulldogs have won seven of their past ten against the Rabbitohs and will be confident of extending their envious record.
Dangermen - Two of the NRL’s most exciting prospects line up opposite each other for the second time this season. Word’s cannot describe the season that Bulldogs flyer Ben Barba has produced. Not only was he the Dally M medallist and the competitions leading try scorer, Barba has ignited a special bond with ANZ stadium crossing for eight tries in his past twelve games at the venue. Greg Inglis has returned to career best form this season and much of the Rabbitohs success can be attributed to his consistent 2012 campaign.
Prediction – The Bulldogs will be fresh from a week off and Des Hasler will have them primed for this clash, it’s hard to go past the minor premiers although the Rabbitohs could surprise. Bulldogs 1-12
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