Date: September 13th, Sunday
Kick-off: 4:10pm (AEST)
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Cronulla Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Gerard Beale, 4. Ricky Leutele, 5. Valentine Holmes, 6. Jack Bird, 7. Jeff Robson, 8. Chris Heighington, 9. Michael Ennis, 10. Sam Tagataese, 11. Luke Lewis, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen, Interchange: 14. Ben Barba, 15. Anthony Tupou, 16. Andrew Fifita, 17. Jayson Bukuya, 18. Matt Prior, 21. Tinirau Arona, 22. David Fifita
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Dylan Walker, 4. Kirisome Auva’a, 5. Bryson Goodwin, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Thomas Burgess, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. David Tyrrell, 11. Glenn Stewart, 12. Chris McQueen, 13. Kyle Turner, Interchange: 14. Jason Clark, 15. Paul Carter, 16. Chris Grevsmuhl, 17. Tim Grant
An upset that seemed highly unlikely throughout this season where the South Sydney Rabbitohs have remained reigning premiers, could be on the cards for Sunday’s finals clash, after the Redfern-based side were thrashed 30-0 by the Sydney Roosters last week. Still yet to win an NRL premiership but with positive signs throughout the second-half of this season, the Cronulla Sharks will benefit from the inclusion of twins Andrew and David Fifita along with fullback Ben Barba.
The Sharks were edged out of a win last week by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at home, due to a sixty-eighth minute try from Sea Eagles young winger Tom Trbojevic. Whereas the Rabbitohs suffered a thrashing at Allianz Stadium after the Roosters ran amok over them in the opening fourty minutes.
Wednesday’s NRL judiciary hearing brought more bad news for the Rabbitohs when George Burgess’ charge for throwing a water bottle off-field was upheld. The English forward committed the offence during last week’s loss to the Roosters and will remain on the sidelines if the Rabbitohs make the semi-finals. In other exclusions from their squad, Isaac Luke remains suspended for his recent shoulder charge while John Sutton sits out for the rest of the season with a broken leg. On the lighter side, superstar fullback Greg Inglis returns to the Rabbitohs from injury for this fixture, the QLD representative moves Alex Johnston to the wing. Having Greg Inglis back is a huge in for the Rabbitohs as Alex Johnston’s recent stint in the number 1 jersey has proved unsuccessful, despite the 20-year old being the club’s top try-scorer for this season.
A key player-to-watch in this weekend’s fixture will be centre Valentine Holmes. At the Cronulla Sharks, he has topped the tryscoring for his team this season but has struggled to score in recent weeks. Although for 20-year old Valentine Holmes, this is his first finals series after only two years in the NRL, with a young age but bustling pace, Sunday’s fixture will be a stage for Holmes to prove his worth to everyone watching.
Sharks by 4. Looks to be an upset and a hard way for the Rabbitohs to back up last year, but recent performances just haven’t been up to scratch.