Gallen says Souths will target Shark guns

·3-min read

Former Cronulla captain Paul Gallen expects South Sydney to take the same fire and brimstone approach against the Sharks in Saturday night's NRL knockout semi-final as they successfully did against their arch enemies.

The physicality of the Rabbitohs highlighted the 30-14 semi-final win over the Sydney Roosters, in which prop Tom Burgess pushed the boundaries with high shots on James Tedesco and Matt Lodge.

Burgess was sin-binned, and subsequently suspended for two weeks, while centre Taane Milne was binned twice for high tackles.

Gallen, speaking at the Main Event boxing press conference in Brisbane ahead of his showdown with Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant on Thursday night, said he expected the Rabbitohs forwards would try to subjugate the Sharks at Allianz Stadium.

"That is the way to play semi-final football and the way to play big games. You've got to dominate through the middle early and that is what we saw on the weekend," Gallen said.

"I know it went a little bit over the top plenty of times and we had seven players sent to the sin-bin. That wasn't ideal but the fact Souths ripped into them early and asserted dominance is the reason the field opened up at the back end of the game and why the Roosters got frustrated.

"They will definitely come out like that again. Both teams will."

While Roosters captain Tedesco was benched with concussion as a result of the Burgess hit, Gallen believes that was unintentional. Still, he expects Sharks fullback Will Kennedy and halves Matt Moylan and Nicho Hynes to be targeted.

"Those guys get targeted week-in and week-out but I don't think they will be trying to hit anyone high," he said.

"It was an accident Tedesco was taken out of the game. No-one ever goes out to intentionally take someone out illegally. They might have thirty or forty years ago, but not these days."

Cronulla lost 32-30 to North Queensland in their qualifying final but Gallen rubbished suggestions the Sharks had been lulled into complacency by an easy draw.

"Five or six weeks ago they played South Sydney, Penrith, Storm, Cowboys and St-George Illawarra when they were still fighting for the top eight.

"They won all of them bar the one against Penrith. The last three weeks (of the regular season) was probably a bit easy for them but they have a great defensive record and if they can bring that defence back, which they didn't bring last week, they will be alright.

"I think they can beat Souths. They beat them when they played them a month ago. It is going to be a good game, I know that."

Gallen said Sharks props Toby Rudolf and Royce Hunt were complemented by the experience of Dale Finucane, Cam McInnes and Wade Graham in the forwards.

"They have a big job in front of them," he said.

"It is going to be made a little bit easier by the fact Burgess isn't there but Souths are playing some good footy. Latrell (Mitchell) is on fire."