South Sydney Rabbitohs v St. George Illawarra Dragons
Saturday, 15 September, 7:50pm
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Two fierce rivals meet in a knockout semi-final match on Saturday night when the South Sydney Rabbitohs take on the St. George Illawarra Dragons. South Sydney lost a heartbreaker against Melbourne last weekend by a 29-28 scoreline. The Bunnies led by six points with six minutes to play, but a Cheyse Blair try and Cameron Munster field goal buried the Bunnies’ hopes of moving straight into a preliminary final. St. George produced the most stunning finals result of the weekend, hammering the Brisbane Broncos 48-18 at Suncorp Stadium. Unfortunately for the Big V, five-eighth Gareth Widdop injured his shoulder in the match and won’t to feature on Saturday night.
The Bunnies and Dragons have played twice this season for a win apiece. In round five, it was St. George who staved off a fast finishing Souths side to prevail by four points. In round 10, Souths were 14-point winners, as the Dragons completed only 66 per cent of their sets. Historically, it is Souths that has the edge on the Dragons, winning eight of the past 10 games between the two sides. St. George’s wins have been by two and four points in contests against the Rabbitohs since 2014. The Dragons came into the finals winning only three of their past eight games, but looked lethal in attack against the Broncos. The big question for Souths will be how much petrol they have left in the tank after a physical game against Melbourne. In that game, coach Anthony Seibold used only 15 players as Hymel Hunt and Dean Britt were on the pine for the full 80 minutes.
Stats That Matter
- South Sydney covered the handicap 13 times during the home and away season, while St. George covered 11 times. The handicap for this match is set at 12.5 points favouring Souths at $1.92 at BetEasy.
- The Bunnies have the most potent attack in the competition, scoring 610 points this season. The Dragons are ranked third with 567 points.
- The Dragons (820) and Rabbitohs (730) lead the National Rugby League in tackle busts.
- George has conceded the second fewest penalties (176) in the competition this season.
- The under total match points has saluted 15 times for the Dragons and 14 times for Souths this year.
The Wolf knows how much Gareth Widdop means to this Dragons side, as he adds another layer of creativity to the Big V’s attack. Ben Hunt was superb last weekend against his old club, but will he be as sharp and highly motivated this weekend against the Bunnies? The Dragon’s pack has appeared battered and bruised for weeks now, but the return of James Graham will be welcomed. Sam Burgess produced four errors last weekend against Melbourne, but led his side with 176 run metres. Souths got the better of a weary looking Dragons side by 14 points in round 10 this season, but this is final’s footy and St. George will be up for this. Grab them at the line, it’s tremendous value.
How It Shapes Up
South Sydney by 6.
Best: St. George Illawarra +12.5 ($1.92)
Value: South Sydney 1-12 ($2.90)
First Tryscorer: Sam Burgess ($26)