Rabbitohs Set To Bound Into Decider

Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Greg Inglis scored in both matches against Manly this season. Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 23, 2013 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 d Manly Sea Eagles 10 at Bluetongue Stadium
Round 7, 2013 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 d Manly Sea Eagles 12 at Brookvale Oval
Round 23, 2012 – Manly Sea Eagles 23 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 at Bluetongue Stadium
Round 18, 2011 - Manly Sea Eagles 36 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 at Brookvale Oval
Round 4, 2011 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 d Manly Sea Eagles 30 at Bluetongue Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 24    Rd 25    Rd 26    FW1     FW2 
Rabbitohs

W

W

L

W

-

Sea Eagles

W

W

L

L

W


The Rabbitohs  can book a grand final berth for the first time since 1971 if they beat the Sea Eagles  in their preliminary final clash at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. Souths have been amongst the two best teams in the NRL all year and can go one better than last year if they scrape past Manly, after suffering a 32-8 defeat to the Bulldogs at this stage of the competition twelve months ago. The Sea Eagles were also bundled out in the preliminary finals in 2012, going down 40-12 against eventual premier Melbourne.

Souths earnt a week off with its 20-10 victory over the Storm in a fortnight ago, giving Greg Inglis and co some time to battle injuries they have carried at the backend of the season. Coach Michael Maguire has named the same 17 man squad that did the job against Melbourne for this match, although he has added Ben Lowe, Luke Keary and Matt King to an extended bench.

Manly arguably had the better of things against the Roosters a fortnight ago, but went down 4-0 to the minor premiers before bouncing back with a 24-18 victory over the Sharks last Friday night. Brett Stewart missed that match with a hamstring problem but has been named at fullback by coach Geoff Toovey, with Peta Hiku dropping back onto an extended bench as cover for the former Blues custodian. With several players nursing niggling injuries following two tough matches, James Hasson and David Gower have also been added to the squad.


1st Tryscorer

Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis  has been nursing a niggling knee injury in the second half of the season, but will have appreciated getting last weekend off. He has bagged 14 tries in 19 outings for Souths this season and was on the scoresheet in both previous meetings between these sides earlier this year, getting the first four pointer of their match in the round seven clash.

Manly skipper Jamie Lyon  has been amongst the Sea Eagles best players this season and has played a huge part in his side reaching the final four. He hasn’t got across the line in any of his past four outings but opened the scoring when these sides met last month.


Prediction

Souths have been one of the best teams in the competition throughout the season and probably deserve to reach the decider but must first overcome a spirited Sea Eagles outfit. If Manly can reproduce the performance that they put in against the Roosters two weeks ago, they will make life difficult for the Rabbitohs, but Michael Maguire’s troops will have learnt from last year when they froze on the big stage and can score their third victory over the Sea Eagles from as many meetings in 2013. South Sydney Rabbitohs by 10

Click here to bet on NRL Preliminary Final matches