Crowe out to Russell some feathers
MOVIE star and South Sydney co-owner Russell Crowe has kick started the mind games ahead of Saturday's blockbusting preliminary final by declaring Sydney Roosters as the NRL's "benchmark club."
The Rabbitohs and Roosters - two foundation clubs - will contest what will be a fierce and famous preliminary final at a 45,000 sold out Allianz Stadium this Saturday evening.
Souths and the Roosters will engage in an on-field war after a week of hype, fanfare and headlines.
The Rabbitohs progressed to the grand final qualifier through a pulsating 13-12 win over St George Illawarra on Saturday night which included three late field goals to Souths halfback Adam Reynolds.
Speaking exclusively with The Daily Telegraph, Crowe - who owns Souths with James Packer - outlined exactly why he believes the Rabbitohs will start the match as firm underdogs.
A traditionalist, Crowe still refers to the Sydney Roosters as their foundation name, Eastern Suburbs.
"Easts have an incredible roster of superstars, they are the minor premiers and the benchmark club. It's a massive challenge," Crowe said.
"The atmosphere will be charged.
"It's an Eastern Suburbs home game but as the stadium sits in South Sydney territory. It's virtually a home game for us too."
The match will be an exciting farewell to Allianz Stadium, which will be demolished early next season.
This will be the final sporting event held at the well-known Moore Park venue.
"It's a fitting tribute and send off to Allianz Stadiums' service to our game and to union and football in this city," Crowe said.
"I'm pretty sure the faithful of both clubs will rattle the old girls' rafters one more time."
Souths legend Mario Fenech took to social media after the win over Saints to declare his passion for the club.
He tweeted: "We came back from the dead !!! Dare to dream!!!"
Reynolds is still being hailed the hero after his composed late effort pushed Souths into week three of the finals.
He produced what was needed under suffocating pressure in a truly gripping match.
"I just had to get along and do my job," Reynolds told ABC Radio. "To get us into good field position and come up with a few clutch plays.
"I was like a little kid in a candy store, champing at the bit to get an opportunity."
The Roosters will be fresh after week off but will play without prop Dylan Napa and centre Latrell Mitchell, both unavailable through suspension.
Get ready for cricket like never before. FREE Sport HD + Entertainment until the first 4K cricket ball as part of 3 months free on a 12 month plan. SIGN UP TODAY. T&Cs apply.