|Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Betting Odds and Game Info|
|NRL Grand Final odds||Panthers $1.74 at Neds | Rabbitohs $2.35 at BetOnline|
|When||Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 7:30pm AEST|
|Where||Suncorp Stadium – Brisbane, Queensland|
|Last time they met||Panthers 10-16 Rabbitohs (FW1, 2021)|
The 2021 NRL Grand Final has arrived, and it will see the Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs fight it out for premiership glory at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.
The two clubs met only three weeks ago when the Rabbitohs caused an upset on the back of some courageous defence, while Penrith have made it to the Big Dance following two immense defensive efforts against Parramatta and Melbourne. The first regular season clash between these two sides ended in a 56-12 win for the Panthers in Dubbo, but that flogging sparked an enormous turnaround in the Rabbitohs, who have only lost once since that day – in Round 23 against the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium. The form of their two most recent clashes suggests the margin is going to be tight and the result in the balance until the closing moments.
Penrith have been upfront about how the 2020 Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Storm has been the driving force behind their season, and they will start as the $1.74 favourites with NRL betting sites. They have won an astonishing 43 games over the past two seasons, but unless they can pull out one more incredible performance, they could go down as the best team to not win the competition. South Sydney might be the $2.35 outsider for the decider, but they are the fresher of the two teams, having not played in Week 2 and getting a comfortable win in their preliminary final against Manly.
The running battle between the two coaches has been another fascinating storyline throughout the finals. Panthers coach Ivan Cleary is 0-3 in NRL Grand Finals as a coach and player, while Wayne Bennett is the master of getting his team to perform on the final day of the season. Bennett has won seven premierships in the NRL and one in the old Brisbane Rugby League in 1985 as the coach of Souths Logan. He had Brisbane just five seconds away from a title in 2015 and got Canberra to their first NSWRL Grand Final in 1987. No one has achieved more on the big stage than Bennett, but is his outstanding record enough to play mind games with the Panthers on Sunday night?
2021 NRL Grand Final betting markets & analysis
If you are a Penrith Panthers fan and you want to have a bit of cash on the game, it is hard to ignore the $2.80 on offer for a 1-12 point win. They have been in close games throughout the finals, pouring a lot of energy into their defence, and it is hard to see the game blowing out to the 13+ margin. The other market to look at is the under 36.5 total points for the game. The last five night games between these two clubs have fallen under the total points line and the impressive defence of both clubs means tries will be at a premium.
Brian To’o at $8 and Stephen Crichton at $9 are the two favourites in the 2021 NRL Grand Final first tryscorer market, fresh off both scoring in the prelims. Kurt Capewell at $26 is the pick of the outsiders, having shown all season a great ability to punch the right holes on the right edge, and it almost resulted in the first try of the game last week against Melbourne.
Nathan Cleary is the $4 favourite to win the Clive Churchill Medal, and it is almost impossible to see anyone else winning it if Penrith do get the win. The Churchill is quite often a narrative-based award, so it would take a stunning performance from one of his teammates to take it off him. Isaah Yeo at $11 is one man who is more than capable of stealing it off Cleary, while James Fisher-Harris at $23 could be another roughie to get on. If JFH decides he wants to take on the Souths pack single-handedly in the opening exchanges, he could be the one to pinch the medal.
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The South Sydney Rabbitohs are trying to become the first top-flight team in Australian rugby league history to win the premiership after conceding 50 points in the regular season. Since losing 56-12 against the Panthers in Round 11, they have racked up a +321 point differential in 15 games, which equates to 33 points as their average margin of victory. In the last decade, the team that comes into the decider as the ‘attacking force’ has often struggled, and we only need to look back to last year to see how Penrith were nullified by Melbourne. But Souths have Wayne Bennett at the helm, and all of his premiership-winning teams have conceded 12 points or fewer in the decider. Souths kept Penrith to just one try and two penalty goes in Week 1 of the finals, so to win their 22nd title they will have to believe they can repeat that effort.
Alex Johnston is going to be the most-backed player in the first tryscorer market at $8.50, and there is plenty of reason to get on him to score a double. He has at least two tries in eight of his last 10 appearances for the Bunnies, so the $6 is an incredible price. The 1-12 margin at $3.30 is also another market that is going to be hard for Souths fans to pass up, knowing that in all likelihood the game is going to be decided by six points or fewer. Cody Walker is the Rabbitohs’ favourite for the Clive Churchill Medal at $6.50, and if Souths win he will feature prominently, but the best value might be Cameron Murray at $11 on the back of his outstanding performance in the prelim win against Manly.
Key matchup: Dylan Edwards vs Blake Taaffe
A lot of the battles within the playmaking spine are separated by a struck match, but the battle of the fullbacks is the most interesting. Dylan Edwards is far from what most teams are looking for from their fullback, playing more like a front rower than a playmaker. Because of their exceptional halves pairing, Penrith are able to use him as essentially a seventh forward in yardage sets and then as a support player on either side of the field when they get into attacking positions. Blake Taaffe, on the other hand, is playing in just his eighth NRL game and has a huge role to play for South Sydney to win their 22nd premiership. Taaffe is replacing Latrell Mitchell due to suspension, and he has done a superb job, showing plenty of playmaking ability for his outside men and an enthusiasm to attack the football when it is in the air. Whoever has the better game between these two could have a huge say in which team wins the game.
Panthers vs Rabbitohs NRL Grand Final predictions
Winning margin: South Sydney Rabbitohs by 1-10 points
It is so hard to not back a Wayne Bennett coached team in a rugby league grand final, so we are taking Souths to win it in a nailbiter. Never mind the statistic that a team which has 50 points has never gone on to win the premiership; 2021 has been a season where records have been shattered, and this is this best chance there will ever be for this statistic to die.
South Sydney Rabbitohs by 1-10 points
Clive Churchill Medal winner: Cameron Murray
If Souths get up, Cody Walker is the obvious pick for the Clive Churchill Medal. However, Cameron Murray was a standout in the prelims and will surely be a central figure should the Rabbitohs win. The $11 is well worth a pop.
Cameron Murray to win Clive Churchill Medal
NRL Grand Final same game multi: 3 legs @ $13.50
Souths at the 1-10 margin with Alex Johnston and Brian To’o to score at any time pays a handsome $13.50 at Sportsbet.
Rabbitohs 1-10 / To’o anytime / Johnston anytime
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