Cliches stack up for Knights, Rabbitohs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cliches stack up for Knights, Rabbitohs

David Beniuk 01/09/2011 04:29:54 PM Comments (0)

Do or die, a grand final, winner takes all - never have the cliches applied more than to Friday night's virtual NRL elimination match between Newcastle and South Sydney.

Two long, inconsistent and injury-hit seasons will come down to a one-game equation at Ausgrid Stadium.

The Knights, Rabbitohs and Canterbury sit equal on 26 points with Newcastle holding down eighth place on points differential.

The Knights are 73 points ahead of the Bulldogs on for-and-against, while the Rabbitohs hold a 39-point advantage over the Dogs.

Both would improve that and move into eighth with a win, meaning Canterbury would need to post a victory over Canberra literally with a cricket score on Sunday to sneak into the finals.

A massive crowd is expected at Ausgrid Stadium but they will need to lift Newcastle out of a three-game losing streak.

In their favour will be the Knights' 15-2 record at home against Souths, and a 24-7 record overall, while the home side's Old Boys game always brings out the Newcastle spirit.

Club legend Adam MacDougall plays his last regular season game, while coach Rick Stone attempts to prolong his reign before becoming an assistant to Wayne Bennett next year.

"They've got some good quality players and (Knights captain) Kurt Gidley's been around for a long, long time and he's an inspirational leader," Souths captain Michael Crocker said.

"I'm sure he'll have the boys prepared to do whatever they need to do."

Souths have won four of their past five, and say they will benefit from the big atmosphere experience of last week's loss to Brisbane.

But they will be without Test centre Greg Inglis, who was this week ruled out for the season with an ankle injury.

Chris McQueen moves from wing to centre for Inglis with the experienced Fetuli Talanoa coming into the side and strike pair John Sutton and Nathan Merritt returning from injury.

The Rabbitohs also have farewells they'd like to postpone, most notably to coach John Lang (retiring), halfback Chris Sandow (Parramatta) and possibly prop Ben Ross, who is still looking for a club for 2012.

"It's always the thing at the ends of seasons, people moving on," Crocker said.

"We've unfortunately got some boys that have been here and love the club that are moving on.

"I definitely know that they'll have that extra motivation to make sure that we continue it a little bit longer."

Whoever secures eighth, they are likely to meet a Melbourne side stung by the loss of the suspended Adam Blair in week one of the finals.

"We've got to win this weekend so I'm not really focused too much on that," Crocker said.

"Craig (Bellamy's) probably the best coach in the game so I'm sure ... whoever he brings in they can do an excellent job."

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