Date: Thursday, 4th September
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45pm (local time)
Sydney Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Mitchell Aubusson, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Sonny Bill Williams, Aidan Guerra. Interchange: Heath L’Estrange, Isaac Liu, Dylan Napa, Remi Casty
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker, Kirisome Auva’a, Lote Tuqiri, John Sutton, Luke Keary, George Burgess, Issac Luke, David Tyrrell, Kyle Turner, Chris McQueen, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, Luke Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Bryson Goodwin, Joe Picker
It’s the climax match for Round 26. It will set the scene. It will define the finishes and futures of two of rugby league’s biggest names in the year of 2014. I’m of course talking about the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs clash at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.
Whether or not either of these two sides can skip the quarterfinals and cement a position in the semis will rest in the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles when they travel to Townsville on Saturday afternoon to take on the North Queensland Cowboys. There will be no excuses for both squads on Thursday night though as they may not know it as they are playing, but the game could well and truly decide the minor premiership and the $100,000 prize.
Last year’s minor premiership playoff was set in very similar fashion, the Rabbitohs and Roosters went head to head in Round 26 at ANZ Stadium with the Roosters coming away with the goods. The minor premiership win and catapult into the semis for the Roosters ultimately gave them the time to prepare for when they smashed the Newcastle Knights on September 29th 40-14.
Following an admission to hospital and a surgery conducted on the lung cavity following Saturday night’s game against the Melbourne Storm, Jake Friend will be unavailable for the fixture and will be replaced in the hooker position by Mitchell Aubusson. Frank Paul-Nu’uausala will come off the bench in replacement of Remi Casty who is placed on the interchange.
For the Rabbitohs, local halfback Adam Reynolds will be unavailable due to suspension and will be replaced by Luke Keary who will make way for John Sutton in five-eigth.
If it were up to me, I’d predict the Roosters to make it two in a row with a win on Thursday night. Despite poor attendances this season, we all know the Roosters can play a great game of footy when faced with a home crowd at Moore Park.
Roosters by 8.