August 18 2021 | Mike Colman

August 18 2021 | Mike Colman


I reckon spectators at Suncorp Stadium this Friday night are going to see a grand final dress rehearsal...

Before round one I predicted a Panthers-Rabbitohs’ decider with the Bunnies coming out on top, and I’m sticking with it. I know the Storm are sitting pretty on the top of the table as the finals loom, but there’s been a few little chinks in their armour over recent weeks, most notably the scare the Raiders gave them on the Sunshine Coast last weekend.

At the same time the Panthers looked rejuvenated against the Dragons with the return from injury of their talisman halfback Nathan Cleary, and the Rabbitohs are cruising along without a care in the world.

Friday night’s match-up should be the game of the season so far. Wayne Bennett loves to give his sides a Melbourne Cup preparation and with the return this week of Dane Gagai, Campbell Graham and ageless try-machine Alex Johnston, all the pieces are starting to fall into place for a red hot run at the premiership.

Of course there will be another genuine title contender in action at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night with the Sea Eagles taking on the desperate Raiders in the first game of the double-header . As is so often the case, all eyes will be on Tom Trbojevic.

Obviously Manly’s premiership chances rest on Turbo’s shoulders, so the big questions are: Will he play, and if he does, can he get through unscathed?

It all adds up to a sensational night of footy and I reckon the most interested spectator of all will be Craig Bellamy.

What do YOU reckon?

AGREE: Wayne Bennett has been bringing the Bunnies along perfectly and with Cody Walker pulling the strings they’ll sneak up on the Storm and Panthers in the finals. It will be a farewell title for Wayne as he heads back to Brisbane and links up with whoever gets the new franchise.

DISAGREE: You’re kidding. The Rabbitohs and Panthers are fighting it out for second place. The Storm are so far in front of the rest it’s almost unfair. It doesn’t matter who they play in the grand final, they’ll make it back-to-back titles.