Will I see Souths with glory in their eyes?
Dave Taylor is tackled by Gareth Ellis during the Round 21 (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)
Growing up as South Sydney supporter, I learnt to accept failure and underachieving as part of the club’s mantra. Year after year, come September I’d be focusing my energy and time elsewhere.
My grandfather and uncles used to tease me with stories, about the good old days, when South Sydney were really the pride of the league.
As they teased I dreamed excitedly that I would one day be able to see Souths with glory in their eyes.
That dream is two wins away from being realised. In forty eight hours, Souths will be playing their biggest game since being reinstated eleven years ago.
They will be coming up against our foes from the west, the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. This game is tipped to be an absolute cracker, with both sides being fairly similar to each other.
They each have two superstar fullbacks, destructive forward packs, young and illustrious halves, and two coaches who have achieved success both as players and as coaches and who have both turned their clubs around.
On paper Souths and Canterbury are on par. Both sides have their supposed X-factors and it will most likely be the case of whoever blinks first will suffer defeat.
Looking at both sides, Souths have the more big game experience. The likes of Greg Inglis, Michael Crocker, John Sutton, Issac Luke, Roy Astotasi and Dave Taylor all having experienced a finals series.
However, even with a young side, the Dogs have gone far in the competition. Their lack of finals experience shouldn’t be too much of an impediment, as they have a dual premiership-winning coach, who just happens to have won last year’s title.
This game will be played in front of an almost sold out crowd, figures on Wednesday indicated that 51 000 tickets have been sold. Come Saturday, I’m sure it’ll be close to the 75,000 mark, as both clubs have the biggest and most passionate supporters in the league.
In one corner we’ll be seeing passion of ‘The Kennel’. They’ll be there in their thousands with their drums, player worshipping signs and massive blue and white flags.
At the other end, we will have ‘The Burrow’ in all their cardinal and myrtle glory. Most of them have been long time sufferers, but they keep showing up, with their signs reading ‘Never Say Die’ and ‘Souths Until I Die’, and of course their voices. The crowd will not be lacking passion at all.
For me, the nerves have well and truly kicked in. I like the way both sides play.
Canterbury have the likes of Ben Barba who can change a game in an instant. They have their destructive duo of Kasiano and Pritchard, their unpredictable yet brilliant halves and a hooker that can change the game with just one whinge.
While Souths have Mr. Reliable Michael Crocker, Greg Inglis rampaging at the back, the Burgesses running the forwards and Luke being the brilliant bully that he is. There are also the names that often don’t get mentioned as much: Jason Clarke, Chris McQueen, Dylan Farrell and Eddy Pettybourne.
So whichever way the result goes we are sure to get a spectacle that’s easily worth the price of admission.
Will I ever see South Sydney with glory in their eyes?
Let’s hope that come Saturday night at 10pm, the dream will only be one win away from realisation.
This is how the two sides line-up:
Bulldogs starting line-up:
1. Ben Barba
2. Sam Perrett
3. Josh Morris
5. Jonathan Wright
6. Josh Reynolds
7. Kris Keating
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Michael Ennis
10. Sam Kasiano
12. Josh Jackson
14. James Graham
15. Dale Finucane
16. Corey Payne
17. David Stagg
19. Dene Halatau
Rabbitohs starting Line Up
1. Greg Inglis
2. Nathan Merrit
3. Chris McQueen
4. Dylan Farrel
5. Andrew Everingham
6. John Sutton
7. Adam Renyolds
8. Luke Burgess
9. Isaac Luke
10. Roy Asotasi
11. Sam Burgess
12. Dave Taylor
13. Michael Crocker
14. Nathan peats
15. David Tyrell
16. Eddy Pettybourne
17. Ben Lowe
18. Justin Hunt
19. Jason Clarke