By Warren Anscombe @Warren_Anscombe
After 26 Rounds and a fantastic finals series, only Souths and the Bulldogs remain in the race to be crowned the 2014 premiers.
For Souths it’s been 43 years since their last Grand Final appearance, whilst twelve Bulldogs players remain from their 2012 Grand Final loss to Melbourne.
A quick look at the recent history shows it has been fruitful for Grand Final favourites, with the past 7 having won and covered the line.
8 of the past 12 have also resulted in a double-figure winning margin, whilst 5 of the last 7 decider’s have registered over 38pts, so this appears to auger well for the Rabbitohs.
Honours have been shared thus far this season between the two, with the Bulldogs victorious 15-14 in Round 7, and the Rabbitohs successful 21-14 in Round 25.
Souths have won 3 of the last 4 encounters with the Bulldogs, however the Dogs have enjoyed greater success having won 11 of the past 17 clashes against their opponents.
Both sides go into this match without their first choice hookers, however for mine it’s the Dogs Michael Ennis whose loss will be felt the most, as they will sorely miss his ability to control the ruck not to mention his masterful niggling.
Taking everything into account, this is Souths Grand Final to lose.
The Rabbitohs have more points in them than their counterparts, and a greater array of game breakers at their disposal should things go down to the wire, so with that being said I think the premiership wait will be over for Souths long suffering supporters come Sunday evening.
I’ll quickly highlight some exotic plays that have caught my eye and may be worth a spec at odds.
In both games between these two sides this year, the winning team has trailed at halftime. The Bulldogs second half scoring woes have been well highlighted, whilst Souths have been strong finishers of late, so a Bulldogs/Souths HT/FT Dbl could well prove fruitful.
Along similar lines, both Mitch Brown (Bulldogs) and Sam Burgess (Souths) have scored the first try for their respective team in both matches played this season, so once again look for these two when playing 1st Tryscorer and Team Tryscorer markets.
Finally I believe there are only 3 hopes to win the Clive Churchill Medal.
Should an upset arise and the Bulldogs win, James Graham stands out like a sore thumb, whilst for Souths both Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess will no doubt feature highly.
As this is his swan song, look for Sam Burgess to be rewarded for his outstanding contribution both on the night and during his time in the NRL.
Premiers: 2 units on Souths at $1.41 with
Exotics: HT/FT Double 1 unit Bulldogs/Souths at $8.5 with
1st Team Tryscorers: 1 unit Mitch Brown (Bulldogs) at $7.0 with
Sam Burgess (Souths) at $8.0 with
Clive Churchill: Sam Burgess – odds to be confirmed