Souths' Demetriou relishing 'unpredictable' rivalry
Coach Jason Demetriou is relishing the unpredictability of South Sydney's rivalry with the Sydney Roosters as the old foes prepare to square off for the first time since last year's chaotic elimination final.
Seven players were sent to the sin bin and three were concussed when the sides met before almost 40,000 fans at Allianz Stadium in September.
On their way to a 30-14 victory, the Rabbitohs were twice reduced to 11 men and were left to count the cost of the carnage as Thomas Burgess faced suspension for the remainder of the finals series.
Six months on and both sides enter the rematch on the back of a win and a loss to start the season.
The Roosters suffered a shock loss to the Dolphins to begin the campaign but held off a plucky Warriors outfit a week later, while Souths overcame a Cronulla side that was missing Nicho Hynes before losing to Penrith.
The Rabbitohs have spent the week hyping themselves up for the Roosters clash.
"As soon as the last game was over everybody starts talking about the Roosters," Demetriou said.
"It brings a lot of enjoyment to the week, to the club, it's what makes the rivalry special."
Demetriou would not rule out another fiery encounter.
"Probably the exciting part about it is just the unpredictability about how the game goes," he said.
"I'd be very surprised if we topped seven sin-bins, I'm pretty sure that won't happen."
But Demetriou's Roosters counterpart Trent Robinson said the clash with the Rabbitohs was just another step on his side's journey to improve on their early exit from the finals.
"I haven't felt a big shift emotionally this week," he said.
"I feel like there's a hunger for us to get better. You obviously know that there's a big rivalry and that it's an important game coming up.
"I've felt like guys are laser-focused on themselves trying to get better."
Both sides welcome forwards back from injury - veteran Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is set to play his first game of the season while Victor Radley returns from a concussion.
"(Waerea-Hargreaves) is keen to get back into footy," Robinson said.
Demetriou said the returns of Junior Tatola from concussion and Heme Sele from a calf injury would be crucial for the Rabbitohs.
"We were a bit light in the middle forwards last week," he said.
"Having two experienced middles back will make a massive difference."