The Rabbitohs' need Greg Inglis to firm up their left-side defence.
The Rabbitohs' need Greg Inglis to firm up their left-side defence. HAMISH BLAIR

Fox League's Corey Parker analyses the semi-finalists

AS WE enter week two of the play-offs there's only two things that are certain - the Storm and Roosters are one win away from the grand final, and two more teams will be eliminated this weekend.

The Rabbitohs and the Dragons both impressed in week one of the finals but the dream of September glory will end for one of them on Saturday night.

Let's see what they taught us last week and consider the outcome of their do-or-die semi-final clash


What we've learnt: The Bunnies lost to the Storm in an absolute epic last Friday night, but showed in the process they're the real deal. The Bunnies will take a lot out of that loss against the Storm and they'll be a better side because of it. Sam Burgess came up with three errors in that match but was still one of Souths' best players. He just needs to take a deep breath, relax and not always look for the big play.

Strengths: The Bunnies have a full list, they're reasonably fit and in good form. They haven't limped into the finals and they played their best against the best team in the competition. Souths have plenty of points in them and can attack you from anywhere. If the Burgess boys lay a good platform and give their outside backs room to move, they're capable of blowing any team off the park.

Weakness: Their left-side defence needs some work. The Bunnies leaked three tries down their left against the Storm. You can guarantee Anthony Seibold would have gone over the game tape with his players during the week and addressed the issue.

Key man: Greg Inglis for the same reason as above. The Bunnies need to fix that left side up if they're to deliver on their premiership potential this season. Everyone knows the attacking threat that GI possesses with the ball in hand, but the Bunnies need him to be the leader on that left side in defence.


What we've learnt: The Dragons showed us there's still plenty of fire left in the belly. No one gave them much hope against the Broncos last weekend, but the Dragons dug deep and put in one of their best performances of the season. They went into the match with a game plan and executed it with precision. They ran hard, defended hard and bashed the Broncos out of the game.

Strengths: The Dragons' back row ripped the Broncos apart last weekend. Tariq Sims, Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin found the form that got them picked for the Blues this season. The Dragons will need their representative trio to step up to the plate again this week to have any chance of keeping their finals dream alive.

Weakness: To go deep into September you need two things. A clean bill of health and a touch of luck. Unfortunately for the Dragons they're struggling in both departments. The return of Gareth Widdop last weekend was a godsend, but his absence this week could be critical. It's clear for all to see that de Belin is also struggling. Dragons fans would have had their hearts in their mouths when he limped off Suncorp Stadium last week, but it will take more than an ankle injury to keep him down.

Key man: James Graham holds the key to the Dragons' fortunes. His opening stint against the Broncos set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Graham leads from the front and sets the standard for his teammates to follow. If the Dragons are to continue their fairytale run in September they'll need another inspirational performance from Graham.

Fearless prediction: Souths to win and win well. The Bunnies come in with a side that's fit and firing, while the Dragons are battered and bruised.

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