Koroisau's huge respect for Souths rookie

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Penrith's Api Koroisau reckons he knows just how Blake Taaffe feels before his South Sydney rival makes his historic NRL grand final appearance on Sunday.

Well, sort of.

Taaffe will become the most inexperienced grand final player of the NRL era when he runs out in just his eighth game.

Koroisau didn't quite break the record for least games played before contesting a season decider when he savoured South Sydney's drought-breaking 2014 success in his 14th NRL match.

However, the Panthers hooker says he can empathise with Taaffe as the Rabbitohs young gun again tries to fill the big shoes of suspended superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell this weekend.

Seven years ago Koroisau had an impressive NRL debut season but still came from the clouds to start for the Rabbitohs in the grand final.

South Sydney were rocked by Kiwi international star Issac Luke's suspension for a dangerous tackle, ensuring Koroisau was picked at No.9 for his first game in nine weeks in the club's first grand final appearance in 43 years.

No pressure, then.

But Koroisau reckoned he felt a different emotion before kick-off.

"For me it was more a guilty feeling going into the game, knowing just how much work Issac had done to get that team there," Koroisau told AAP.

"They finally got the opportunity and he couldn't go out there and do his thing so I really wanted to go out there and do a job.

"It wasn't a pinch myself feeling. It was more about getting my serious head on and making sure I didn't let anyone down out there."

Their circumstances may have been different but Koroisau says if anyone can relate to Taaffe's plight, it's him.

As a result, the Panthers No.9 reckons he only has respect for the way the 22-year-old has handled himself.

"He has been playing some great footy. He has been really destructive for them at the back, and it is such an important position," Koroisau said.

"I can empathise with him and understand how much of a great job he has done.

"He will be nervous before the game but I am sure he will do everything he can to play his best footy."

While Koroisau had an attack of the guilts before kick-off in 2014, Taaffe looks set to feel very differently before trying to add another successful chapter to his family's rich history at South Sydney.

Taaffe will run out in the No.1 jersey, the same one worn by his grandfather and Rabbitohs great Kevin Longbottom who won the 1967 grand final under coach Clive Churchill and captain John Sattler.

"It's been pretty surreal actually. I still pinch myself every morning," he said.

"There's a very happy family back home seeing me in the No.1 cheering for me.

"Every time I'm at my aunty's or with my nan they're always hounding me saying that I look so much like him (Longbottom).

"I'm just taking it day by day (before grand final) but I'm loving it."

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