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NRL: Roosters and Rabbitohs set for huge elimination showdown

Rivalry in the NRL does not get much bigger than the Roosters against the Rabbitohs and it will move to another level on Sunday when they clash in the elimination final at Sydney’s new Allianz Stadium.

The two sides clashed in last week’s final game of the regular season in what turned out to be a full dress rehearsal and it was the Roosters that came out on top when winning 26-16.

That game was fierce, so were the supporters that packed into the stadium, so we can expect something similar on Sunday evening.

It will be season over for the losers, while the winners will go through to a preliminary final where they will face the winners of Cronulla Sharks versus the North Queensland Cowboys.

Both sides are packed with quality, too many names to mention, but with Roosters skipper James Tedesco and Souths superstar Latrell Mitchell both at fullback we are in for a treat.

With the big game fast approaching, let’s take a closer look at both sides heading into it.

What: Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
When: 16:05 (AEST) Sunday 11th September
How to watch: Channel 9, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds: Roosters 31/50, Rabbitohs 13/10

The Roosters have been in outstanding form and appear to be peaking at just the right time after winning the last eight games on the spin. Including that win over the Rabbitohs in the final round of the season.

Momentum and form is crucial at this stage of the season and the Roosters appear to have both heading into the clash with their arch rivals.

Another key is having all your best players fit and available and unfortunately for the Roosters they have lost one of their best.

Influential centre Joey Manu picked up an injury against the Rabbitohs last week and he will be forced to sit out the game.

It is not all bad news for the Bondi outfit though as two big players are back in the fold. Daniel Tupou and Joseph Suaalii have recovered from the groin and shoulder injuries that kept them out of last week’s encounter.

There is also a huge boost concerning star lock Victor Radley who returns from concussion, while both prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and hooker Sam Verrills both look good to go despite concussion and finger issues respectively.

They are all huge ins for the Roosters and will help make up for the loss of Manu.

But no matter who is on the pitch, the game is set to be a full-on tense encounter and Souths also have a side packed with quality that will be up for the battle.

Mitchell is a huge player for the bunnies and the former Rooster will be smarting after losing last week. He also gave away three penalties and spent 10 minutes in the sin bin. Expect him to come out roaring and he is the player for the big occasion.

Roosters star Connor Watson, who is also a good friend of his, is expecting a reaction.

"He obviously had a bit of a rough night at the end there, but he will come back bigger next week so we’ll have to watch that," Watson said.

The Rabbitohs have also received some good news this week with influential duo Cameron Murray and Damien Cook both set to take their places in the starting side.

Murray has a habit of picking up concussions in the first few plays of the game and that happened again last week. He failed his HIA and did not return to the pitch. However he is back in for Sunday and is a huge player for Souths.

So is star hooker Cook who has been missing for the last couple of games through sickness. He was sorely missed last week and the Rabbitohs will be delighted to have him back in.

Campbell Graham also returns from concussion and will play at centre with Jaxson Paulo moving to the reserves.

All eyes will be on Lachlan Ilias who has had the unenviable task of trying to replace Adam Reynolds this season. But he has done a great job at halfback when chipping in with 11 try assists.

He will be up against another young star halfback in the form of Roosters ace Sam Walker. Whoever comes out on top in that battle could decide the game.

Walker has been a revelation this season with seven tries, 90 goals and 15 try assists.

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