South Sydney Through to NRL Grand Final

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have booked a place in the NRL Grand Final with a 32-22 win over the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

It was all-out war as the two sides clashed in their first final since 1938, a match with the atmosphere of a grand final. Although deadlocked at half-time, Souths were on top. Physically dominant and structurally consistent, they will be hoping to take this form into the final next week.

Isaac Luke was characteristically destructive from dummy half and the enigmatic Greg Inglis was brilliant, finishing with two tries. 

Mitchell Pearce scored under the posts to break the bombardment of the opening few minutes with a beautiful solo run through the Rabbitohs defense.

Retiring Sydney Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello plucked the ball out of the air from the grasp of opposing fullback Greg Inglis to put the Roosters up 12-0 after 8 minutes.

After a period of brutal running from both forward packs, the Rabbitohs pulled the lead back to 6 through a try to another veteran, Lote Tuquiri, in the 20th minute. Running on the last play, Adam Reynolds spread the ball wide for a crisp finish in the corner.

The Roosters gave away several penalties and a resurgent South Sydney Rabbitohs were gifted consecutive sets in good field position.

Alex Johnston scored his 20th try in only his 17th match to bring scores level inside the final 10 minutes of the first half. Adam Reynolds impressively converted his second kick from the sideline. 

The score remained 12-12 at the break although the pressure on both lines was telling in the final minutes. 

“plenty of big ones [collisions],” was all an exhausted Greg Inglis could get out as he left the field at halftime in his 200th game. 

Ben Teo smashed his way over the line, carrying three players with him in the 44th minute as the Bunnies exploded into the second half.

The Sydney Roosters gave away a number of silly penalties and were not able to overcome their ill-disciplined approach, restricting their time with the football. 

From an anti-climactic final tackle play, John Sutton passed the ball on the inside to a surprised Greg Inglis, who scored the South Sydney Rabbitohs 4th try for a 24-12 lead in the 52nd minute.

Roosters fans were nervously quiet in the face of 24 unanswered points for the defensively consistent Rabbitohs,

Nerves were shattered as Inglis leaped highest, his body bouncing off the post, to score again. South Sydney pushing the score out to an ominous 3 converted tries with 14 minutes to go.

In his final act as captain, Rooster and rugby league player, Anthony Minichiello scored a consolation try in the final minute of the match before a respectfully appreciative crowd. 

“The last two years have been unbelievable… we have great supporters and fans,” commented a deflated Minichiello.

Nothing could soften the roar of the South Sydney fans as the realisation that their team were into the grand final set in. The team song rung throughout ANZ Stadium as many chanted of their hopes to keep ‘marching on’ next weekend.