NRL great Andrew Johns has swallowed a slice of humble pie, admitting that he got it wrong when he predicted that the South Sydney Rabbitohs would crash out of the finals “in straight sets”.
Johns said earlier this month that with Latrell Mitchell scrubbed for the remainder of the season due to suspension, that Souths had “no chance” to win the Premiership.
“I think they will compete, and they will compete hard, but they can’t win four big games in a row to win the grand final,” Johns said after Mitchell was handed a six-week ban for a high shot on Sydney Roosters’ Joseph Manu.
“I think they will compete hard, but I think they will go straight out in straight sets because there’s no Latrell.
“The way they play Latrell, he’s just so important to the way they attack.”
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After Johns made that statement, the Rabbitohs went on to defeat the Dragons, the Panthers, and the Sea Eagles, and now are one win away from claiming the Premiership trophy.
And the team they’re facing they beat just a few weeks earlier, setting up a tantalizing clash for the NRL grand final on Sunday in Brisbane.
For the red-hot Panthers, they’ll be seeking redemption having fallen short in last year’s season finale against the Melbourne Storm, while the Rabbitohs return to the big dance for the first time since their 2014 title victory under now Tigers coach Michael Maguire.
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Despite his earlier prediction, Johns is now convinced Souths can get the job done even without Mitchell, having been impressed by their recent form.
“Penrith would have learnt so much from last year, how to handle the week and how to handle the pressure, but for me I’m leaning towards Souths,” Johns said in Wide World of Sports’ Freddy & The Eighth.
“I said at the start of the semis that Souths would go out in straight sets, but I underestimated Wayne, like, what an idiot.
“I underestimated the will of the players and the South Sydney spirit and what’s within that club.
“I didn’t think they were a chance of getting close of Penrith, I thought they’d be out the next week without Latrell, but once again, I underestimated some key things.”
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