If the AFL Grand Final didn’t quite do it for you last weekend, then hopefully the showpiece game in Australia’s other winter sport, Rugby League, will!
The 2021 NRL Grand Final sees South Sydney Rabbitohs face off against last year’s beaten Grand Finalists Penrith Panthers at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Few predicted South Sydney to make it this far in 2021 with Penrith and the Melbourne Storm the front runners all season.
We know most of you reading this wouldn’t know the difference between a knock-on and a hit-up, so we’re going to make it as simple as possible for you to find a winner.
Why Penrith will win
- They will no doubt be driven by the heartbreak of losing last year’s decider and will not want a repeat of that in 2021.
- There’s a famous old stat that gets used every year in the NRL. A team that concedes 50 points in a regular season game has never gone on to win the Grand Final that year. It happened to South Sydney this season not once, but twice. One of the teams to put 50 on them? Penrith.
- South Sydney will be without one of the NRL’s best players in Latrell Mitchell. Mitchell will miss the decider due to suspension. While they have managed to deal with Latrell’s absence so far, it may just prove telling in the Grand Final.
- Pentrith is a side blessed with some of the best young players in the game. Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, Jerome Luai, Steven Crigton, the list goes on. The boys went up through all the junior grades together with Penrith right up to First Grade so know each other’s games inside out have been building towards a premieships since they were teenegaers. They’re ready.
- A big advantage for Penrith and their young stars is the experience gained from playing State of Origin since last year’s Grand Final, To’o, Luai, Liam Martin and Kurt Capewell had no big game experience to their name. That’s all different this time around.
Why South Sydney will win
- They have the greatest coach ever in Australian Rugby League in Wayne Bennett. The 71-year-old has been the man in charge of seven winning Premierships, the most of any coach in history.
- This will also be Bennett’s last game as South Sydney coach and will want to leave the Redfern club as a winner.
- South Sydney have more premiership winning experience in their team compared to Penrith. Four Souths players have tasted Grand Final wins before, compared to just one from Penrith.
- Souths head into this one the fresher team having enjoyed the week off in the second week of the finals. South had a much softer preliminary final too with a dominant 26-16 win over Manly while Penrith endured an 80-minute slug-fest against Melbourne.
- These two sides met just three weeks earlier with South Sydney recording an impressive 16-10 win.
- South Sydney have the power of Hollywood on their side with actor Russel Crowe the club’s owner. Rusty has converted a bunch of his A-List mates to support the Red and Green over the years too.
Last week’s AFL Grand Final gave us a bit of a lop-sided result at the end but I can’t see that being the case this week.
This is a match-up between two incredible even sides and promises to be one incredible Grand Final.
Penrith will head into this one as favourites being one of the two best sides all year and having vanquished Melbourne last weekend.
South Sydney were however easily the third-best team all year behind the Panthers and the Storm and went into the finals series in the hottest of forms.
That win in Week 1 of the Finals for South Sydney was a vintage Wayne Bennett coaching performance as they shocked everyone by downing Penrith.
This forced Penrith into playing an extra finals game which may just prove the difference in this one.
Penrith’s last two week’s have been brutal games which will no doubt have taken a massive toll on the players.
South on the other hand enjoyed a week off in the second round of the finals and had a much easier go of it last weekend defeating Manly.
When a team has only played three finals including the Grand Final comes up against a side that has played four, more often than not it’s the team with one game less played goes on to lift the trophy.
We’re backing South Sydney to claim their first premiership since 2014 and give Penrith their second straight Grand Final defeat.
Selection: South Sydney 1×2 @ 2.29