WELL, there’s one game to go, and to say I’m excited about playing in tonight’s NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final, in the proud red and green jersey of the mighty Rabbitohs at Stadium Australia, would be an understatement.
As a team we have worked so hard since the end of last year to prepare ourselves for this game. Every man in our top squad, each of the coaches and staff, have all been pushing in the one direction and now it comes down to an 80-minute performance this evening.
We’ve had a great week. Everyone has been excited but relaxed about the activities throughout the week. When it was time to have fun we did, and when it was time to switch on, focus and train then we did that too.
My advice to some of the younger guys in the team was to really enjoy the week and get everything you can out of it, because you never know when the next opportunity might come.
My teammate Lote Tuqiri is a perfect example. His last Grand Final was back in 2000 and it’s taken him this long to get back to the big day.
I’m loving playing with the mix of guys we have in our team at the moment. From the experience of guys like “LT” and Johnny Sutton, to the fresh faces of Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker, Kirisome Auva’a and Kyle Turner, to big-time performers like Sammy Burgess, we have a great mix among the group and we all get along so well.
There’s nothing like running out on to Stadium Australia in front of a big crowd with some of your best mates, and that’s what we’ll be doing tonight.
So much gets said about the premiership drought of the Rabbitohs, but this squad is very focused on creating our own history. We completely respect those players who have worn the red and green before us and their achievements for this club, but we have an opportunity to create the next chapter tonight and we’re all very focused on achieving that goal.
We haven’t achieved anything yet, and we’ll all be doing our best to change that tonight.
The Bulldogs have had a great season so far, they’ve been in the top four for most of the year and led the competition for a fair chunk of that. They have talent right across the park, plenty of representative players, and we know that all 17 of our players will need to be at our best to get over the top of them.
They know how to win close games, they know how to niggle you and try to put you off your game, and we’re sure that we’ll need a complete 80-minute performance to get the win.
I want to make special mention of our hooker, Issac Luke. Unfortunately, “Bully” won’t be out on the field of play with us physically tonight, but he will be out there with us in terms of the way he has helped the team prepare for this game over the past 11 months and the efforts he has put in to help Api Koroisau get to the level he has over the past few years.
Api is a “Bully” clone. He played first grade for an extended period this year when Issac was out injured and has played Test football for Fiji at last year’s World Cup. He’s played on the big stage before and we’re looking forward to playing with him tonight.
I also want to mention our Members and supporters. We have over 30,000 Members this season and I’m tipping just about every one of them will be at Stadium Australia tonight.
We have hundreds of thousands of supporters right around the world and we know they will all be at the ground or watching on TV wherever they are, cheering us on. We’ll use that wave of support to spur us on, so I’m asking all of those people who are supporting us tonight at Stadium Australia to make as much noise as they can and to show those red and green colours because you can make the difference.
It’s such a big day for so many people and I know every player is looking forward to representing South Sydney with pride in tonight’s Grand Final. Up the Rabbitohs.
*Greg Inglis is an Stadium Australia ambassador, supporting the stadium’s charity and community programs.