Dec 10 2018

Cross-town rivalry steeped in decades of folklore

Crunch time: Shaun Kenny-Dowall gets nailed by Chris Sandow in 2009. Photo: Steve Christo 1996, Anzac Day carve up Roosters win 62-0
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Former Rabbitohs and Roosters captain Sean Garlick described the match as a “dark day” for his beloved South Sydney. Unlike South Sydney fans, Garlick could take some solace in the fact he played a key part in the 62-0 onslaught as captain of the high-flying Sydney City Roosters in the round six game at the SFS in 1996. “It was a dry day and every pass stuck and every kick found its mark,” the former hooker said. “As each try scored we grew in confidence. It was a great day for Roosters supporters but a dark day for Souths.” Winger Peter Jorgensen scored a hat-trick of tries, while Peter Clarke crossed twice. Centre Ivan Cleary finished with a 22-point haul scoring a try and kicking nine goals. Phil Gould was coach. “I remember thinking everything Gus said worked to perfection which just then gives everyone more confidence if you end up doing what he said,” Garlick said. “Being a Souths junior it was bitter-sweet, whilst you play to win no one likes to see teams getting a hiding like that. In reflection it was a bit of a sad day for the Rabbitohs.” The win was midway through a 10-game unbeaten streak for the Roosters. They would fall one short of a grand final spot, while Souths finished the season second to last with South Queensland claiming the wooden spoon. The defeat was Souths worst in history until they lost 66-0 to the Warriors in 2006.

2009, Russell Crowe’s thumbs down Souths win 52-12

Winger Nathan Merritt scored a hat-trick of tries for South Sydney in their rampant 52-12 win against the Roosters in their round one clash in 2009. Despite the Bunnies crossing for nine tries it was a gesture from club owner Russell Crowe that overshadowed the on-field action. Crowe gave a gladiatorial “thumbs down” from the verandah of his corporate box imploring Souths to finish off the Roosters in front of almost 25,000 at Allianz Stadium. The Roosters finished with the wooden spoon.

1968, Minor premiership on the line Souths win 24-22

Souths beat the Roosters in 1968 to win the minor premiership. This Friday’s epic encounter isn’t the first time Souths and the Roosters have squared off in a final regular-season game with the winner securing the minor premiership. Souths beat Easts 24-22 at the SCG to claim the 1968 minor premiership where Rabbitohs five-eighth Dennis Pittard scored two tries within five minutes. Souths led 14-11 at half-time in front of almost 40,000. Souths went on to beat Manly 13-9 to win the premiership.

Correction: In Monday’s story it was stated South Sydney won just two matches in their comeback season. They won five.

Rabbitohs watch

Experienced South Sydney forward Jeff Lima has a simple message for his young teammates — relax and enjoy the moment heading into the minor premiership deciding game, against Sydney Roosters on Friday night.

Lima, who has played in three NRL grand finals with the Storm, has spoken to his teammates about the importance of being settled in the lead-up to big games.

‘‘We just tell them to be humble and relax,’’ he said. ‘‘I know guys get too excited when you play big games and they don’t turn up. I tell them to relax and enjoy the moment  … I still get nervous. I should be all right once the game starts. I’ve played in some big games and they are the best memories I have.’’

Lima, former Melbourne teammate Greg Inglis and Roy Asotasi have tasted premiership success. While both sides would happily forfeit lifting the J.J.Giltinan Shield in exchange for the NRL trophy, Lima knows the importance of a good performance on Friday night.

‘‘Over the years I’ve played in games where we’ve lost before the finals series and we didn’t go too well,’’ he said. ‘‘These games you’ve got to try and do the best you can do to win these games.

South Sydney players did a mixture of gym and field work at training on Tuesday.Roosters watch

The tricolours had a non-training day on Tuesday.

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