Start cru­cial for Rab­bits

Premier­ship-win­ner Justin Hodges says South Syd­ney must hit the ground run­ning to be in with a shot of first grand fi­nal win in 43 years

Central and North Burnett Times - - RUGBY LEAGUE - By WAYNE HEMING APN SPORTS BUREAU

DUAL grand fi­nal win­ner Justin Hodges says hot favourite South Syd­ney must switch on from the open­ing whis­tle against a snubbed Bull­dogs out­fit fu­elled by a siege men­tal­ity.

The Rab­bitohs have been en­gulfed in a tsunami of emo­tion as they shoot for their 21st premier­ship vic­tory since 1908 but their first since 1971.

The power of their vic­tory over de­fend­ing pre­miers the Roosters last week­end off a week’s rest was such that even with­out banned hooker Is­sac Luke, pun­dits can’t see the Bull­dogs be­ing able to hold the likes of Greg Inglis, Dy­lan Walker, Sam Burgess, John Sut­ton and Ben Te’o, whose im­pact off the bench last week­end was eye-catch­ing and turned the clash.

Hodges, who won a grand fi­nal with the Roosters in 2002 and with his cur­rent club Bris­bane in 2006, said Souths had been slug­gish out of the box in re­cent games, in­clud­ing last week when they spot­ted the Roosters a 12-0 start be­fore pil­ing on 32 unan­swered points as their for­wards took con­trol. “For Souths to win, which I think they will, they will need

to start well and not let the

Souths are a great side, they’re a mon­ster side, but this is a grand fi­nal and any­thing can hap­pen on the day.

Justin Hodges

Bull­dogs get their tails up,” Hodges told APN dur­ing a break on the Sun­shine Coast.

“Souths are a great side, they’re a mon­ster side, but this is a grand fi­nal and any­thing can hap­pen on the day.”

Hodges doubted Souths would fall at the last hur­dle as they had in re­cent years when gripped by the pres­sure of break­ing the proud club’s premier­ship drought.

“They look more dom­i­nant and they have learned a lot from the ex­pe­ri­ence of get­ting close,” said Hodges, who said he would be at the grand fi­nal to support his close mate Inglis who was back to his best form last week­end.

South Syd­ney be­lieves Michael Ennis will play de­spite scans ear­lier in the week­end re­veal­ing two small frac­tures in his foot.

For­mer Pen­rith half­back Greg Alexan­der, now a com­men­ta­tor for Fox Sports, said he had played with a sim­i­lar in­jury, giv­ing hope that Ennis may be able to play his last game for the Bull­dogs on Sun­day.


TIME: Sun, BULLDO 6.15pm


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