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Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary

Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary says the hatred between foundation clubs South Sydney and the Roosters is a positive for the code – and he should know.

When the two teams run out on ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, Keary will be the only man to have once laced on the boots for the other team.

"It's really good for the game when you can build rivalries like this," Keary told NRL.com this week.

"The hype and the build-up and the theatre and the atmosphere on the night, it's nothing but a positive for the game.

"Both sets of fans are really passionate and don't really like each other and that kind of trickles through to the playing group.

"The rivalry, you want to beat your rivals and you know how much it means to different people at both clubs. It's special for the game, these kinds of rivalries. You see Cronulla and Melbourne have built one over the last few years too. I think it's really good."

Roosters v Rabbitohs - Preliminary Final

Keary is not just the most recent player to have played for both clubs but the first to play finals footy at each club since Mick Crocker hit the semis with Souths in 2013 (having played finals for the Roosters in the early 2000s including the 2004 decider).

And on Saturday, Keary becomes the first player since winger Harold Thompson in 1934 and 1935 to have played finals for Souths against the Roosters as well as for the Roosters against Souths.

Not that Keary has clear memories of the first leg of his quinella - the 2014 preliminary final, which was just his 21st game of NRL.

"I was really young at the time and probably didn't understand how important it was and how much it meant," he said.

"The Roosters were coming off a premiership in 2013. They had a really good team, got off to a really good start and probably let that one go.

"They probably look back on it as one they let go but our boys were really good and obviously we went on to win the comp."

Keary's scrumbase partner in that 2014 encounter, Adam Reynolds, is coming off a stunning performance in the Rabbitohs' 13-12 win over the Dragons last weekend.

"He is [at the top of his game], he's had a really good year. He's a really good fella and I'm happy for him," Keary said.

"He won them the game last week with three field goals. He's been good for them all year, he's been one of their best. He'll be tough to stop and we'll have to limit the way he impacts the game.

"The things he can do, especially with his kicking game and how important that is in the game these days.

Luke Keary celebrates Souths' 2014 premiership with Adam Reynolds.
Luke Keary celebrates Souths' 2014 premiership with Adam Reynolds. ©NRL Photos

"He becomes one of the most important players on the field and obviously he's the halfback – you want your halfback to lead the team and I think he's done it well."

One thing Keary's Roosters did particularly well in a week one win over the Sharks – and that the Bunnies did last week – was taking advantage of the key moments when they presented themselves and Keary said it would be even more important this week.

"You expect both teams to turn up at their best and if that happens there will probably be five, six, seven, eight moments in the game," Keary said.

"There will be moments that define the game and you have to prepare the best you can to own those moments. If it comes to you, you have to own that moment. You have to be ready."

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