The biggest week of the twelvemonth is lone conscionable starting - but Benji Marshall has already acceptable a expansive last record.
Benji's singular feat of playing 2 deciders 16 years isolated is unparalleled successful the 113-year past of rugby league, according to stats guru David Middleton.
A cheeky youngster erstwhile helium threw THAT celebrated flick walk to triumph the Wests Tigers the unwinnable premiership successful 2005, Benji is present 36 and the omniscient aged antheral successful the Rabbitohs' quest for glory.
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One of Benji's erstwhile team-mates - dual planetary Lote Tuqiri - comes closest to matching his feat, with 14 years betwixt his 2 expansive finals - for the Broncos successful 2000 and Rabbitohs successful 2014.
Ageless erstwhile Storm skipper Cam Smith besides played expansive finals 14 years isolated (2006 and 2020) - but played rather a fewer others successful between.
Souths retired to interruption premiership hoodoo
Souths committed a premiership-winning curse not erstwhile but doubly successful 2021 - and hopefully that won't play with the players' heads successful the lead-up to the large one.
Since 1908, nary squad that has conceded 50 points successful a crippled has ever won the premiership - and the Bunnies achieved the unwanted milestone successful some rounds 9 (50-0 v Storm) and eleven (56-12 v Panthers).
The circular 11 clash against the Panthers is definite to inactive beryllium successful the players' minds with the Penrith backline moving chaotic - Matt Burton scored 3 tries, Nathan Cleary bagged 2 and Brian To'o ran for implicit 200 metres.
Panthers brace the key
The Jarome Luai - Nathan Cleary concern shapes arsenic Souths' biggest hurdle successful the quest for the rubric connected Sunday.
Remarkably, since they paired up successful 2019, Luai and Cleary person won 38 of 41 games unneurotic arsenic the Panthers' starting halves.
The duo complement each different perfectly and instrumentality the vigor disconnected each different successful large matches.
The Rabbitohs volition people the brace successful the large 1 - but Melbourne tried the aforesaid connected Saturday and weren't capable to implicit the assignment.
Storm look to 2022
So what went incorrect with the Storm - the insignificant premiers and standout squad passim the 2021 season?
When they mislaid Brandon Smith and Christian Welch to first-half concussions and George Jennings dropped the shot with the tryline open, you got the feeling this wasn't going to beryllium their day.
But determination was much to it than that - signifier players Cameron Munster and Harry Grant made immoderate mediocre decisions and the Storm dropped capable shot to person Craig Bellamy head-butting the coaching container window.
Even so, they astir snatched it astatine the death - but it would person been a lawsuit of the amended squad losing had they got up.
Loss ends Hasler's cleanable record
Manly were blown distant by Souths successful the archetypal fractional connected Friday night, but merit plentifulness of recognition for coming truthful adjacent to a expansive last aft losing their opening 4 games.
Tom Trbojevic had a play for the ages and erstwhile helium scored against the Rabbitohs, helium broke the large Phil Blake's nine grounds of 27 tries successful a play acceptable mode backmost successful 1983.
The crippled was besides Des Hasler's archetypal nonaccomplishment successful a preliminary last - but Manly finished the play with their heads held precocious and with plentifulness of origin for optimism successful 2022.
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