The second Preliminary Final on Sunday will be played between two old combatants whose rivalry in our great game almost compares to that of Souths and Easts or even the Dragons and Souths for that matter.
While much uncertainty continues to shroud the existence of the proud Western Suburbs Magpies club, that will no doubt be the last thing on their minds this Sunday as they battle it out with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for the right to advance to the Grand Final at ANZ a week later. After overcoming a stubborn Wentworthville Magpies outfit last weekend attentions would have immediately turned to exactly how they can overcome the Minor Premiers this weekend considering they have not been able to do so in two prior attempts this year. A narrow and ultra competitive loss at the Crest mid season was tempered by their more recent and far less competitive outing against the Dogs in Round 24 and coach Leo Epifania would have surely had some restless nights trying to work out how to overcome this Bulldogs juggernaut. And why wouldn’t he when you look at their side which would not look out of place lining up in an NRL fixture with the likes of Yileen Gordon, Corey Payne and Brad Morrin in the forwards complemented by the likes of Trent Cutler, Heka Nanai, Shane Neumann and Daniel Rauicava in the backs. The Dogs should be the fresher of the two teams as they, like the Tigers had the luxury of sitting back and relaxing last weekend while the other finalists were battling it out, but with that said I am sure coach Justin Holbrook has kept the boys ticking over in the interim and that they will turn up to Leichhardt on Sunday ready to play.
But with that said Wests have shown in the past few weeks that they are not here to merely make up the numbers and with the unpredictable and explosive Rhys Pritchard at the back and the steadying influence of Nathan Waters and Chris Corby in and around the rucks the Magpies are a real possibility of causing the upset here.
2010 previous meetings:
RD 13: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 20 def. Western Suburbs Magpies 14 at The Crest Stadium
RD 24: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 42 def. Western Suburbs Magpies 12 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Vs Western Suburbs Magpies
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, September 26
Referee: Gavin West
Broadcast: Triple H 100.1FM (Link available via www.nswrl.com.au’s Weekend Game-Cast)
Broadcast: 2GB broadcasting LIVE & ABC Live updates (Links available via www.nswrl.com.au’s Weekend Game-Cast)
Broadcast: NSWRL Preliminary Finals Highlights to be aired on Fox Sports 2 HD and Fox Sports 2, Wednesday, September 29, 5.00pm