The third instalment of the 2021 Grand Final replay comes to us on Saturday night, and this is the biggest of the lot. The Penrith Panthers look to make it three Grand Finals in a row when they take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who are looking to get back to the big dance after a disappointing loss in last year’s decider. The Panthers had last week off, and given their last month of football, their players should be fresh and ready to fire. The Bunnies were never challenged last week by the Sharks, running away 38-12 winners. What a game this should be.

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Team News

The Panthers have one key change from their 27-8 victory over the Eels two weeks ago, with Taylan May serving his 1-game ban for a high shot on Will Penisini. Brian To’o shifts to the left side, with Charlie Staines named on the right wing, replacing May. Don’t be surprised to see Ivan Cleary switch hookers, with Mitch Kenny starting and Api Koroisau benched.

The Rabbitohs have also made the one change, with Silva Havili ruled out, and Jed Cartwright replacing him on the bench. There is also talk Alex Johnston could miss out with an abdominal issue, however I expect him to play.

Betting Odds

Panthers $1.37 vs Rabbitohs $3.10 - Bet now at Ladbrokes!


Two familiar foes, with the Panthers and Rabbitohs going head-to-head for the 6th time in a 13-month span. This will also be their third clash in the finals over the past two years, so these two teams are as familiar with each other as any other teams in the NRL.

The two finals’ matches from last year are the ones I want to focus on, as I can see this match going similarly to those two matches. In week 1 of the finals last year, the Rabbitohs upset the Panthers 16-10, in a match that only had 3 tries scored and only 6 points in the second half. The Panthers righted the ship 3 weeks later in the Grand Final however, sneaking home 14-12 in a game where both teams scored 2 tries apiece.

Remember, the Rabbitohs were without Latrell Mitchell in that Grand Final, and I believe he will be the X-Factor the Rabbitohs need to pull off a massive upset this weekend. I don’t expect many points, with Latrell Mitchell making the play to get the Rabbitohs home 16-12 late.

Love It – Campbell Graham - $12,800

I love Latrell here too; however, I get the sense he may sit back and insert himself when necessary. This doesn’t bode well for his scores, and as such I’m going to a very solid option at OB. Campbell Graham has scores of 54 and 51 against the Panthers this year, scoring tries in both contests. He has a solid floor, and I expect the Rabbitohs to go at the right side of the Panthers to try and soften Nathan Cleary up. Expect plenty of touches.


Love It – Cody Walker - $14,890

Cleary is the obvious choice here, and if you have the money, I can’t talk you out of picking him up. I’m going with Walker here however, who has been in solid form over the past 2 months, with a low score of 37 and a high score of 71. Walker also holds a surprising statistic against his opponent, scoring tries in his last 4 matches against the Panthers. With points at a premium, a spark of Cody Walker magic could really help you out this week.


Love It – Cam Murray - $20,230

We had Murray in the ‘Who Knows’ category last weekend, and the HIA concerns still linger. However, I can’t leave him out this week based on what might happen in a head clash. Murray is clearly the best forward in this game for fantasy, and his clash with Isaah Yeo could well determine the outcome of this contest. Has a similar base to Yeo, however, is far more likely to get you a try or some form of assist to really bump up his score.


Hate It – Viliame Kikau - $13,890

Kikau hasn’t scored a try against the Rabbitohs since the Panthers 56-12 drubbing of the Bunnies in round 11, 2021. In the two games this year, Kikau has managed scores of just 36 and 41, which whilst they aren’t terrible, aren’t winning you any money. He has the knack of overplaying his hand in these big matches, so don’t be surprised to see his error count high, and a couple horrible offloads hitting the deck. A new winger outside him doesn’t help this issue, with To’o playing on the left this week.


Hate It – Api Koroisau - $16,620

Koroisau’s minutes are likely to drop again this week, with coach Ivan Cleary likely starting with Mitch Kenny. This eats into Api’s tackling and running metre stats, which drop his floor. Koroisau has been brilliant this year at creating around the ruck for the Panthers, however with the tempo of this game predicted to be slow, I believe Api will struggle to get much going through the middle. With the Panthers unlikely to score more than 3 tries, it limits Api’s chances of try assists, and therefore his ceiling. Scores of 38 and 23 in his last two games don’t cut it at this price.


Who Knows – Lachlan Ilias - $10,890

Ilias has been in tremendous form the past few weeks, with scores of 49 and 56.5 so far in the finals. I don’t know if he can keep up that form against a Panthers defence which is as good as anyone’s. Has scores of 25 and 36 against the Panthers this year, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a score between 25 and 35. However, for his price, if he can jag just one attacking stat to go with his general play kicking, his score could be worth the outlay.

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