Last week it was Australian Rules, this week it is rugby league as the South Sydney Rabbitohs take on the Canterbury Bulldogs in the 2014 NRL Grand Final!
If you watched Sydney humiliated in the AFL Grand Final last week, get ready to learn the rules of another sport albeit one that is much more friendly to Sydney fans!
AFL is a sport Victorians love whereas rugby league is a sport celebrated by New South Wales locals with two Sydney teams contesting the final at Olympic Park this weekend.
So, what do you need to know going in?
Well, if you’ve ever seen rugby union, you’ll know the basics. The ball can only be passed backwards (using your hands) but can be kicked forwards.
For points, four points are given for a try – like a touchdown only a player has to put the ball on the ground over the try line rather than just cross the line – and two points are given for a conversion which is a kick through the posts after a try.
If a penalty occurs, the team is given the option of taking a kick at goal from the spot of the foul (worth two points) or carrying on with the game.
The biggest difference between league and union is in game play. In league, every time your team has the ball, you have six tackles to score. Similar to the four downs in American football, teams often kick on the fifth tackle to get the ball further down field. It sounds like a strange rule but once you start watching the game -you’ll know exactly what’s going on!
For the teams involved it’ll be a momentous occasion. South Sydney haven’t been involved in a Grand Final since 1971 – it’s been a very long time between drinks for Rabbitohs fans – while the Bulldogs last won the Premiership in 2004.
The Rabbitohs have been the bridesmaids for a long time and it would be a great story if they could finally break their curse. Owned by Hollywood superstar Russell Crowe, the Bunny’s have a huge following all over Sydney.
The Bulldogs will go in as underdogs for the Grand Final but it really is anybody’s guess for the winner!
There is a big English connection for this game too as both sides rely on Englishmen to dominate. The Rabbitohs have a family – the Burgess’ boys – of four brothers that play in the green and red. The Bulldogs have a formidable force in James Graham who you won’t miss with his shock of ginger hair running through the opposition!
You probably don’t live in South Sydney or Canterbury so how do you pick a team? Well, do want want the side that hasn’t won for 40 years but are favourites for this game, or do you want the underdogs here but a side that won it quiet recently? It’s entirely up to you but pick one and start backing them!
Get to the pub on Sunday evening and start cheering on your new favourite team! Remember, it’s a bank holiday on the Monday after so you’ve got no excuse to stay away!!