A replay of last year’s fierce Grand Final, Penrith and South Sydney meet at Accor Stadium to determine who will advance to this year’s decider with the Panthers heavily favoured.
It has appeared for much of the season that Penrith have been destined for premiership glory. They will not get it easy though against a red-hot South Sydney team who have not forgotten how the Panthers rubbed their noses in defeat after last year’s decider.
There is little question that Penrith have been the dominant team over the last three seasons. One of the misconceptions though is that the Panthers have blown opponents away the rest of the league. That is anything but the truth in the finals. Over the last three years, the Panthers only won their first final by more than four points against the Eels in Week 1 this year when they trailed 8-7 but ran away late against a Mitch Moses-less side. That includes a two-point win in last year’s Grand Final.
The Panthers and Rabbitohs also have had a very close recent history. The Panthers have won eight of the last nine clashes but in those nine clashes only three have been decided by more than four points. None of the 10 clashes between the two teams at Accor have resulted in a Penrith win of more than four points.
This is a good spot for the Rabbitohs. They have covered 8 of 10 as an underdog. They have covered 6 of 9 as an underdog of more than a converted try. They have covered 12 of 18 at ANZ.
The number in this one is just too big.
Same Game Multi
Alex Johnston last failed to score in back-to-back games in Rounds 4-5 and has 30 tries in back-to-back seasons, the only player in history to do so.
Stephen Crichton was the Grand Final hero against Souths last year and has scored in three of his last five games.
Lachlan Ilias has proven a capable tryscorer in his short NRL career with five tries in 25 games. He is in good form too with three tries in his last nine appearances. The Rabbitohs are going to meet a very aggressive defence so it would not shock to see them score on the inside rather than on the edges.
Play Betseeker Bingo for NRL Tryscorers at TopSport! Here are this week’s selections.
At least three of the following four players to score a try in NRL Finals Week 3.
At least two of the following four players to score a try in NRL Finals Week 3.