The possibility of a Grand Final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters has captured the imagination of NRL officials. With the two teams facing off in back-to-back matches to start and end the regular season, there is hope that they could meet in the decider for the first time in 88 years. While this scenario seemed likely at the beginning of the season, recent performances have raised doubts.
The Rabbitohs, who were leading the ladder just seven weeks ago, have faltered in recent weeks, losing four out of their last five games. While they are still within striking distance of the top spot on the ladder, a loss to the Warriors could see them drop out of the top eight. The Roosters, on the other hand, have been plagued by injuries to key players such as Sam Walker and Angus Crichton. These setbacks, combined with a struggling attack that is averaging just 16.4 points per game, have left them with the worst attack in the NRL.
Both teams acknowledge the areas they need to improve. Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray emphasised the need for better defense, which was a strength earlier in the season. Meanwhile, Roosters playmaker Luke Keary highlighted the team’s need to relax and play with less pressure.
Injuries have also taken a toll on both teams. The Rabbitohs have been without star fullback Latrell Mitchell, who is sidelined with a calf injury until at least Round 21. Blues hopefuls Campbell Graham, Jai Arrow, and Jacob Host are also dealing with injuries. Despite these setbacks, the Rabbitohs remain hopeful and are ready to face the challenge.
For the Roosters, their slow start to the season is not uncommon. In previous seasons, they have timed their run to the finals perfectly. With just one win separating them from the Rabbitohs, they believe they can turn their season around and make a push for the playoffs. Keary is confident that hard work and belief in each other will be the key to their success.
The final round of the season will see the Rabbitohs and Roosters face off once again. Whether or not this match will have implications for the finals will depend on the performances of both teams in the coming weeks. The possibility of a Grand Final between these arch-rivals still remains, but there are no guarantees. Both teams will need to dig deep and find their winning form to make their dreams a reality.