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Old Rivals Clash In Prelim Final Showdown At ANZ Stadium

James Conway

TWO of rugby league’s fiercest rivals – the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – clash in a dream Preliminary Final on Friday 27 September at Stadium Australia.

The Rabbitohs, who earned a week off after an impressive 20-10 win over reigning premiers the Melbourne Storm in the Week 1 Qualifying Final, will play the Sea Eagles who held off a fast-finishing Cronulla Sharks 24-18 in the Week 2 Semi-Finals.

With so much history between these two bitter rivals, there will be no love lost on Friday night. The rivalry dates back to the early 1950s when they first clashed in a Grand Final, since then the rivalry has stood the test of time.

They have met in three Grand Finals – 1951, 1968 and 1970 – with Souths winning all three. Souths’ 42-14 victory in the 1951 Grand Final is a record for the most points scored by a team in a Grand Final and remains the highest scoring decider in history.

Regarded as the greatest display of tougness, Rabbitohs legend John Sattler played almost the entire 1970 Grand Final against Manly with a broken jaw he sustained from a stray John Bucknall elbow. His heroics helped his side to a famous 23-12 victory.

Rabbitohs fans have never forgiven Manly for dismantling the famous Souths team of the early 1970s – the Sea Eagles signed many of their stars including Ray Branighan and John O’Neill.

Since then Manly have become one of the dominant forces in rugby league winning eight premierships and are the only club to win a title in each of the last five decades.

There would be no sweeter way for the Rabbitohs to reach their first decider since 1971 than to beat their old rivals, the Silvertails from Sydney’s northern beaches.

There’s a feeling around Redfern that this is the year ‘The Pride of the League’ return to their glory days, back at the top where they belong.

The Rabbitohs are now just one step from their first Grand Final appearance in 42 years while the Sea Eagles are aiming for their fourth Grand Final appearance in seven years. After two enthralling and at times spiteful clashes between the sides this season, Friday night promises to be a clash worthy of two proud Sydney clubs.

The Sydney Roosters, who beat the Rabbitohs in front of an NRL club record crowd of 59,708 at Stadium Australia earlier this month, won their way through to the other Preliminary Final against competition dark-horses the Newcastle Knights this Saturday night (28 September) at the SFS.

The Rabbitohs and Roosters are now favoured to win their way through to a mouth-watering Grand Final match-up on 6 October at Stadium Australia.


Friday, September 27, at Stadium Australia, Sydney

7.45pm: Telstra Premiership Preliminary Final
South Sydney Rabbitohs v
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Saturday, September 28, at SFS, Sydney

7.45pm: Telstra Premiership Preliminary Final
Sydney Roosters v
Newcastle Knights

Tickets to the Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles Preliminary Final on Friday 27 September include return travel on public transport.

Tickets are available from Ticketek online, by calling 132 849 or by going to a Ticketek outlet.

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