Andrew Pelechaty previews the second semi-final, with Cronulla-Sutherland playing South Sydney…
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney.
Date: Saturday September 17, 8:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Connor Tracey 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Dale Finucane 14. Teig Wilton 15. Cameron McInnes 16. Braden Hamlin-Uele 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Lachlan Miller 19. Aiden Tolman 20. Braydon Trindall 21. Jesse Colquhoun 22. Mawene Hiroti
The Sharks have retained the same 17 from the qualifying final. Dale Finucane was charged but only had to pay a fine, so is free to play.Embed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Hame Sele 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Siliva Havili 18. Davvy Moale 19. Blake Taaffe 20. Jaxson Paulo 21. Richard Kennar 22. Peter Mamouzelos
Thomas Burgess was the main casualty from “Sin Bin Sunday”, out for two weeks: his season is over unless Souths make the grand final. He’s replaced by Michael Chee Kam.
Referee: Grant Atkins
In an excellent opening weekend to the 2022 Finals Series, Cronulla-Sutherland and South Sydney featured in two of the better games. The Sharks lost a high-scoring thriller to North Queensland at Shark Park (32-30) that went to extra time AND Golden Point. Valentine Holmes broke the 30-30 deadlock in the 92nd minute with a “Super Field Goal”. The Sharks and Cowboys scored 10 tries between them, with William Kennedy scoring a double for the Sharks. Though the Sharks would have be kicking themselves after they led 30-22 with 13 minutes left.
Souths beat their traditional rivals the Sydney Roosters in a spicy elimination final (30-14), with Alex Johnston scoring a double. Easts only trailed 24-14 before Isaiah Tass sealed the win in the 71st minute. Though the talking point was the seven sin bins, with Taane Milne sent twice and Thomas Burgess and Tevita Tatola sent once for Souths. Burgess will miss this game and the preliminary final (if Souths make it that far).
While this is a Cronulla home game, moving it to Allianz Stadium (Sydney Football Stadium) negates any advantage for the Sharks. Infact, it gives Souths the advantage: they’ve already played twice there, so they know their onions at the new SFS. At least the Sharks have their 21-20 win over Souths in Round 20 for some self-belief.
And there’s another factor: finals experience. Souths have played in the last four preliminary finals and made the grand final last year, while the Sharks haven’t made it past week one since 2018. It’s been a great achievement by Cronulla to make it this far after a few seasons of hovering around the bottom part of the eight.
Even so, Souths’ recent finals experience – and immediate familiarity with the SFS – should be enough here.Embed from Getty Images
Cronulla-Sutherland and South Sydney have both won a single NRL premiership, breaking huge droughts in the process.
Cronulla-Sutherland won their first premiership in 2016 (beating Melbourne 14-12). They had played three grand finals since their inception in 1967: 1973, 1978, 1997 (Super League).
South Sydney won in 2014 (beating Canterbury-Bankstown 30-6), their first premiership in 43 years (1971), and their 21st title overall.
Rabbitohs by 10.
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