Souths eye history in do-or-die NRL final

·3-min read

Cameron Murray has proven Latrell Mitchell isn't the only South Sydney star to benefit from cattle farms as South Sydney chase a slice of rugby league history on Saturday night.

The Rabbitohs can join Melbourne as only the second team in the 25-year NRL era to reach five straight preliminary finals with victory over Cronulla at Allianz Stadium.

And Murray is perhaps the most overlooked weapon in Souths' late-season revival.

The inspirational skipper detailed to AAP how his own mid-season getaway following a concussion helped revitalised his campaign just as Mitchell's mid north coast retreats routinely reinvigorate Souths' attacking trump.

For all the hype around Mitchell and Cody Walker, the Rabbitohs' NSW State of Origin lock has been superb in the second half of this season.

In the seven full games Murray has played since Origin III, Souths have scored 13 tries after their skipper dug into the line and passed.

Two other tries have come in plays where he has had his hands on the ball, helping unlock the Rabbitohs' right and left edges.

Murray is the first to admit he had a rough opening few months to the season, fighting through shoulder injury, getting surgery and then rushing back to play Origin.

Then when things appeared to be back on track, he copped a serious head knock in Origin III.

"After the head knock I just needed to get away," Murray said.

"It's not very healthy just scrolling on social media. I went away to a farm in Gundaroo with my partner.

"I just went for a few walks ... We just sat in front of the fire. It was just what I needed to reset."

Mitchell has made his farm stays famous recent years, regularly returning to his own property in Taree to refresh.

But Murray also ranks his own trip to a 220-acre Yass River property as the turning point of his season.

"I felt like as soon as I really came right at certain points during the season, (the injuries) knocked me back down to my knees," he said.

"After that little interlude when I went away, I came back refreshed and I came back and my body felt good.

"And obviously you play good when you feel good. The last month or two has been the player that I trained to be in pre-season."

Murray is not the only Souths player to undergo significant change at that same time.

In the week before the representative round, the Rabbitohs were flogged 32-12 by St George Illawarra as halfback Lachlan Ilias was hooked, before Mitchell's return from hamstring injury the next game.

"That was probably the low point in our season," Murray said.

"We had a lot of tough conversations after that game. It wasn't how we like to play and it wasn't us.

"Latrell really helped. He brought a lot of energy.

"I don't know if we would have bounced back as good as we did in those initial stages without Latrell being there, that would have been really tough."

Murray and Mitchell's heroics now put Souths on the precipice of their fifth straight preliminary final as they hunt a breakthrough premiership after last year's loss in the decider.

The run is only bettered by Melbourne's seven straight preliminary finals between 2015 and 2021, which netted four grand finals and two titles for the Storm.