Bitter rivals Souths and the Roosters do battle in the first Preliminary Final on Friday night, as both seek a place in next week’s Grand Final. For Souths the burden will be heavy, after falling at this stage the last 2 years they will be hoping its third time lucky for their long suffering fans. The Roosters snuck home last week after blowing a 30 point lead, however as defending premiers they know what it takes this time of year and go into this encounter with relatively little pressure compared to that of their rivals. The ledger sits at one apiece between these two this year, with Souths victorious at this ground 28-8 in Round 1, and the Roosters prevailing in the most recent encounter 22-18 at the SFS. Overall the Roosters have the advantage, winning 19 of their past 27 matches against the Rabbitohs, including 6 of the past 9 meetings at this ground. The last 4 meetings between the two at all venues have also failed to surpass 40pts, so it would be no surprise to see a repeat of this given what’s at stake. For mine Souths come into this match in better form, however there’s no denying the expectation on them is greater than that of the Roosters, and one must wonder whether too much scar tissue remains after previous failed campaigns. I do get the sense they are a more credentialed side this time around and having learnt from the mistakes of the last 2 years, I believe they can get over the line here and take a giant step towards winning their first Premiership for 43 years.