NRL Grand Final Preview: Burgess prepares to bow out

Sam Burgess will be looking to depart rugby league with an NRL Grand Final winners ring when his South Sydney Rabbitohs take on Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday.

Lining up for the Bulldogs is his former England team-mate James Graham, at the end of a week where both players were named in the NRL team of the year.

Graham’s last Grand Final appearance saw him land in hot water – he was banned for 12 matches after being found guilty of biting Melbourne full-back Billy Slater.

The former St Helens man has lost the last six Grand Finals he has appeared in, with his solitary taste of success coming in his first – Saints’ 2006 Super League Grand Final win over Hull.

A place in the final looked unlikely for the Bulldogs when they finished seventh in the league table, but they have seen off Penrith (18-12), Manly (18-17) and Melbourne (28-4) to book their place at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, for a game that starts at 9.20 UK time and is live on Premier Sports.

For the Rabbitohs, a win over arch rivals Sydney Roosters, in what was Sonny Bill Williams’ last game of rugby league before another code switch, followed their earlier 40-24 win over Manly in their run to the final, and the week off they enjoyed in the middle of the campaign could be crucial.

Going back to Burgess, he will line up alongside brothers George and Tom for the final time, before he switches codes with Bath.

One player he won’t be lining up with for a final time is Kiwi hooker Isaac Luke, handed a two-match ban by the disciplinary which means he’ll be a frustrated figure watching on the sidelines.

Former Leeds forward Greg Eastwood has been named in Canterbury’s starting team.

Betting: Souths are favourites, with the handicap standing at 9.5 with Betsafe.

South SydneyGreg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker, Kirisome Auva’a, Lote Tuqiri, Luke Keary, Adam Reynolds, George Burgess, Apisai Koroisau, Dave Tyrrell, Ben Te’o, John Sutton, Sam BurgessInterchanges: Jason Clark, Kyle Turner, Chris McQueen, Thomas Burgess, Ben Lowe, Luke Burgess, Bryson Goodwin.

 

Canterbury: Sam Perrett, Corey Thompson, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Mitch Brown, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (capt), James Graham, Josh Jackson, Tony Williams, Greg EastwoodInterchanges: Tim Browne, Dale Finucane, David Klemmer, Frank Pritchard, Moses Mbye, Reni Maitua.

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