Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
This Sunday night the third-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs take on the second-placed Penrith Panthers in the 2021 NRL Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Not since 2014 have we seen two Sydney based clubs face each other on the big stage, with South Sydney of course winning their first premiership in 43 years against the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on that day seven years ago.
Just two players from that premiership-winning side will be playing in this Sunday’s game in Alex Johnston and club captain Adam Reynolds, with the latter set to depart the club after the game along with coach Wayne Bennett.
Penrith will be looking to secure their first title in 18 years, with the Panthers last winning the competition in 2003 against the Sydney Roosters.
There is plenty at stake heading into this one and plenty of tension between the two sides as a result; however, more fuel has been added to the fire as the Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Rabbitohs have lodged a complaint to the NRL about the actions of another one of Penrith’s trainers during the Panthers clash with the Melbourne Storm last Saturday afternoon.
It's on! The bad blood between South Sydney and Penrith has escalated ahead of the #NRLGF – and a Panthers trainer is again at the centre of the dispute. @brentread_7https://t.co/ZImyXce0Nk
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) September 28, 2021
Penrith already has a trainer suspended for the rest of the season in Peter Green, with the club fined $25,000 when Green called for play to be stopped in Penrith’s Semi-Final clash with the Parramatta Eels two weeks ago.
If true, then the Panthers will not have gone a week without being accused of some form of misconduct by an opposition club or an external party since the finals began.
Wayne Bennett made accusations the day before this season’s grand finalists met in the first week of the finals with the NRL investigating and then punishing the Panthers for the Peter Green incident. Then the Melbourne Storm reportedly accused Penrith of using unlawful tactics heading into their clash and now the Rabbitohs reportedly have made a complaint about the Panthers and another incident with a trainer.
One can’t help but wonder how genuine some of these accusations have been, and if the primary purpose of them being made is to distract the opposition.
Hopefully, we do not see this become a constant theme throughout the finals series in years to come unless justified.
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