Luke Keary has admitted that the Sydney Roosters will not stand a chance against South Sydney unless they rise dramatically for a grudge match.
The Roosters and Rabbitohs came into the clash at Allianz Stadium on Friday night with one win and one loss this year, but the players are well aware that it is not a true reflection of the position of both clubs.
Souths were particularly impressive against Cronulla in the opening round, and rallied late into an emotional night against Penrith last Thursday.
In contrast, the Roosters were shock losers to the Dolphins in the first round, and survived a late scare against the Warriors on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.
“They’re doing better than us at the moment,” Kerry admitted.
“They are playing really good football. We have to be really good Friday.
“It won’t be good enough on Friday. We have to be better.”
When asked if he was playing mind games before Friday, Kerry was adamant that the Roosters had plenty of ground to take.
“I think anyone who watches football can see how teams are doing at the moment,” he said. “It’s not rocket science.
“They’re going really well, this team’s been together for a while. They just look like they’ve carried on from last year. That’s going to be a real challenge for us.”
However, Keary is confident that Roosters can strike the right balance between playing with emotion and playing with control.
The likes of captain James Tedesco admitted they got sucked into their own wild encounter during last year’s Finals, with seven players in both teams being knocked down and three injured.
This followed similar scenes in March 2021, when the Roosters sought revenge on Jai Arrow for an ugly State of Origin moment with James Tedesco and walked away with a 26-16 loser.
Kerry still believes last year’s loss was as much about failing to respond to early injuries as it was the emotion in the game, but he said the players were well aware it would not happen again.
“We don’t need to talk about it,” Kerry said. “We learned our lessons from that.”
“We have a little bit against them now as we hurt ourselves. We’ve dealt with that. We won’t talk about that in the run-up to the game.
“As a group we feel we have evolved from those experiences.
“We still play with passion, both teams will. Both teams always will. But there is a line there and we know we can’t cross it.”
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