Because the rugby league season nears the sharp finish and the highest eight seems safer by the week there’s just one query that is actually price asking anymore.
Is there anyone, wherever within the Nationwide Rugby League who can stand up and critically problem the Panthers? Can anyone beat them once they’re absolutely loaded and the stakes are at their highest?
The defending premiers are trying shaky for the primary time all season after a spate of accidents and suspensions and have been well below their best on Thursday night, nevertheless it’ll take greater than a few losses with out Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai to knock them off their perch.
In order everyone else who walks on with hope of their hearts begins gearing up for the finals in earnest, it is time to sharpen the knives, man the torpedoes and begin constructing an arsenal you’ll be able to purpose proper at Penrith’s coronary heart.
That is the essential factor to remove from a match like South Sydney’s 26-0 win over Parramatta on Thursday night.
On paper, this was a gathering of two groups on the same degree, each able to rising excessive or falling low relying on how any explicit night time strikes them. In follow, it regarded appreciated two groups on completely reverse trajectories waving to one another as they flew in direction of their fates.
Each Parramatta and the Rabbitohs have nice soccer in them, notably in assault, however on this night time solely the Rabbitohs confirmed it. When any mixture of Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray and Damien Prepare dinner hyperlink up, as they appear to be doing so much currently, the Rabbitohs can rating on any crew within the competitors.
That is the way it’s been for Souths since Mitchell returned from a hamstring damage in early July. He’s taking part in like a person who can carry his crew wherever they need to go. The Rabbitohs have gained six of seven with him again within the aspect, with their sole loss coming to high-flying Cronulla in golden level. After this win, the highest 4 is firmly of their sights.
For them to take that closing step and hit the extent the place they’ll tackle a completely loaded Penrith and be ok with their probabilities all they should do is tighten the screws just a bit bit, discover that ruthless edge and love for the grind that each one true premiership contenders possess.
For a crew of South Sydney’s pedigree, that should not be too tough. It has been a pure development of their season for the previous 5 years, the place they’ve made the preliminary closing or higher in every marketing campaign.
It is already on this crew, and so they confirmed flashes of it in opposition to the Eels. Coach Jason Demetriou known as it their most ruthless show of the season and he was proper.
The Rabbitohs will tackle Penrith themselves subsequent week, albeit a diminished model in comparison with the aspect that conquered them in final yr’s grand closing. A win over this Penrith is not the identical as a win over common Penrith, nevertheless it’s not nothing both.
These are the identical Panthers who’re the one crew to place a rating on South Sydney this season when Mitchell is taking part in. They’re the one aspect who he has not been capable of bend to his will.
And a win over Penrith in any kind will give any crew a lift. Forged your thoughts again simply a few weeks to when Parramatta gleefully piled the factors on in opposition to their western Sydney rivals within the sport Cleary copped his lengthy suspension.
It did not matter it was a 12-man aspect, it was nonetheless the Panthers and it was nonetheless a variety of factors. It might nonetheless have been the springboard in direction of one thing huge for Parramatta.
However as a substitute the Eels are nonetheless looking out, nonetheless wandering by means of the wasteland looking for their higher selves. Shedding halfback Mitchell Moses is a blow, definitely, however that doesn’t excuse their defence being prised aside so simply within the opening exchanges in opposition to the Rabbitohs.
Nor does it clarify how their vaunted ahead pack, crammed with so many consultant stars, was overwhelmed down and run round by South Sydney’s middles in a basic case of the bullies getting bullied.
Coach Brad Arthur known as it tentative, and there are too many huge, highly effective males within the center for the Eels for phrases like that to be thrown round evenly.
In order the Rabbitohs elevate their eyes to the horizon and put together to cost, with out worry or hesitation, into that darkness on the sting of city the place Penrith lurks, Parramatta is attempting to resolve a barely completely different equation.
Regardless of having handed Penrith two losses this yr already, the Eels are caught in the identical loop looking for a approach to grasp themselves and their very own prodigious, sensible, maddening presents.
Time is operating out for the blue and golds to work themselves out and so they have a tricky run dwelling – they will face the Bulldogs, Broncos and Storm to complete issues off.
Cronulla, Melbourne, North Queensland and the Roosters will all be firing up and flexing their muscular tissues in readiness for the wars to return, and Parramatta simply do not appear to be they’re as up for the combat.
Sooner or later it turns into not possible to persuade your self or anyone in any respect you might be the roadblock that lastly stops the Penrith premiership cost that has appeared to inevitable for thus many months now. Sooner or later you’re what the report says you’re.