“Facts are stubborn things.” – John Adams
NEW YORK, NY – After an improbable, winding journey of navigating that blasted #COVID-19 virus, at long last the NRL has its Grand Final in sight. Before we get to that glorious weekend, though, there’s a question or two to be answered. After stunning the the Sydney Roosters in an epic 22-18 victory behind props Joe Tampine and Josh Papalii, the underdog Canberra Raiders denied the Roosters a three-peat and reserved a well-earned spot in the Grand Final. This leads us to our big question: Out of the Paramatta Eels & South Sydney Rabbitohs, who will be playing the Panthers, while the Storm and resilient Raiders meet next week?
We know what Russell Crowe thinks… but what else should we consider? According to Sports Betting Dime, Sydney are the main favorites to win the game by 6 points against the Eels. From their recent history, that sounds about right.
Injuries, of course, will have their impact. Paramatta star Blake Ferguson is out. The Eels will use veteran center Brad Takairangi at right center with Waqa Blake going to wing. George Jennings replaces also-injured Maika Sivo on the left, joining brother Michael on the all-important left edge.
All will have to contend with a potent “Bunnies” side. Consider that Damien Cook, Alex Johnston and Adam Reynolds are league leaders in a whole bunch of stats. Click this to fully digest their abilities. Statistics are like facts and referring to the quote up top, we know about facts.
On paper, it will take a near perfect performance from Brad Arthur’s squad to win the right to move on to the Final. They’ll have to shore up their edge defense, as South Sydney will look to continue their prolific piling-up of points by attacking their edge. A fit Ferguson would help with that. At least if he’s out, however, Arthur won’t be forced to move players out of position during the match, like he was forced to do last week.
The Rabbittohs do have the Sam Burgess scandal hanging over their heads. Last week, The Australian outlined serious allegations of drug use and domestic violence against Burgess, whom has stepped down from his coaching/media position. Burgess denied any wrongdoing and a club like South Sydney could use the drama as a rallying cry.
Any way you slice it, dice it or serve it up, this one proves to be a dandy.