Match Preview – Penrith vs South Sydney

Watch Penrith and South Sydney live at this year’s NRL Grand Final at the Sky Sports Mix and the main event live on Sunday from 30.30am (kick-off 9..30)

Last updated: 01/10/21 3:59 pm

Penrith and South Sydney will meet in the NRL Grand Final on Sunday

The biggest prize in the Australian Rugby League has been grabbed on Sunday as the Penrith Panthers and the Rabbitos of South Sydney will face off in the NRL Grand Final.

It will be a grand finale with a difference as the Covid-1 pandemic epidemic has forced it to move from its traditional historic Sydney home to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, where attendance capacity is held at 75 per cent.

That wouldn’t detract from the occasion for either team, however, the Panthers ’goal was to look to the final defeat to last year’s Melbourne Storm and the Rabitohas look forward to the 22nd Premiership.

Live NRL

October 3, 2021, 8:30 p.m.


The match is live on Sky Sports Mix And The main event From 30.30 in the morning, and here we take a look at some of the talking points and team news before NRL’s show-piece game …

Experience and youth come to the fore for rabbits

South Sydney has plenty of experience to rely on in trying to win the Provence-Sammons trophy for the first time since 201 Sy.

Former England head coach Brisbane is led by Wayne Bennett with his goal of winning his eighth Australian title after leading the Broncos and St George Ilawara Dragons to the awards.

Then coming off the interchange bench is 36-year-old Benji Marshall, who won the NRL title with the West Tigers in 2005 and proved to be a super-sub for the Rabbits in 2021 at this last stage of his career.

  • Regular season Tu: Third finished
  • Qualifying Final: Penrith Panthers (W 16-10)
  • Preliminary Final: Manly C. Les Gulls (W 36-16)

“I had five shoulder restructures at a young age, I missed 70 games due to injuries throughout my career so it’s a great honor for me to be back from that,” Marshall said.

“I was probably able to change my game because I grew up playing a lot smarter and not so flashy.”

At the other end of the scale for the Bunnies is Blake Taaffe, the full back set to become the most inexperienced grand finalist in history with just seven previous NRL appearances to his name.

The 22-year-old has had his chance since taking a chance when Lateral Mitchell suffered a season-ending suspension and aimed to emulate his grandfather Kevin Longbottom, who won the Premiership in No. 1 shirt with South in 1967.

“It didn’t really sink in and I’m still pinching myself,” Tafe said. “The goal this year was my debut and everything after that was a huge achievement for me and my family.”

Clear: The difficult situation has helped the Panthers

The 12-month Rewind and Penrith were heading to the NRL Grand Final behind an incredible 17-game run that took them to the decisive against the storm.

That run ended when Melbourne won 2-20-20 at the ANZ Stadium, but the Panthers kept the rate firmly in their minds as they beat the same opponent 10-6.

In the September 11 qualifiers, Evan Cleary’s men will now have to reverse their previous defeat to the Rabbitos, losing 16-10 to the South.

  • Regular season Tu: Second finished
  • Qualifying Final: South Sydney Rabitos (L 16-10)
  • Semifinals: Paramatman els Los (W 8-6)
  • Preliminary Final: Melbourne Storm (W 10-6)

But head coach Cleary believes the challenges the team has faced this year will put them in a better position as they win their first NRL title since 2003 and third overall.

“The whole journey this year was completely different for us,” Cleary said. “Last year it was pretty common sailing.

“We didn’t lose for four months before the grand final and rarely got hurt, where we were at least a little bit this year.

“We think it helps us and it certainly helped us in difficult situations over the last few weeks and I think historically any team that has done well has had a good defense.

“We’ve worked very hard on it and I’m sure it will help us on Sunday.”

Team news

Although Penrith did not sign Tevita Pangai Jr. mid-season due to an MCL injury, Dylan Edwards, Brian Too, James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota XIII are expected to make temporary appearances.

South head coach Bennett has announced the names of 117 unmarried players from the team that defeated Manly Siegels in the preliminary final, although there are some concerns about whether captain Adam Reynolds will be able to kick due to a minor injury.

Potential team

Penrith Panthers: Dylan Edwards; Stephen Cricton, Paul Momirowski, Matt Burton, Brian Too; Jerome Louis, Nathan Cleary; Moses Leota, Opisai Koraisau, James Fischer-Harris, William Kikau, Kurt Capwell, Isa Yeo.

Exchange: Tyrone May, Scott Sorensen, Spencer Leniu, Liam Martin.

South Sydney Rabbits: Blake Taffy; Alex Johnston, Dan Gogoi, Campbell Graham, Jackson Paolo; Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds; Mark Nichols, Damien Cook, Tevita Tatola, Keon Kolomatangi, Jaden Sua, Cameron Murray.

Exchange: Benji Marshall, Jacob Host, Tom Burgess, Joy Arrow.

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