Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell.

One factor in the Roosters' favour when they attempt to beat the Rabbitohs for the first time this year on Friday night that has been somewhat overlooked is their sheer dominance at the SCG this year.

The SCG is a different sort of ground to what rugby league players usually play on. Most stadiums – from the immense ANZ to the atmospheric Suncorp to the stunning new Bankwest to all the popular if a touch dated suburban patches – are purpose-built rectangular fields.

The picturesque SCG is different. Drenched in the history of nearly 70 grand finals and 1400 games over 110 years of hosting top-flight rugby league, the old dressing sheds and the stately Members' and Ladies' pavilions have a personality all their own.

But take nostalgia out and the reality is the SCG is not the ideal rugby league venue. It remains one of the best venues in the world for Test cricket but the dimensions mean fans at an NRL game have a lot of grass between the fence and the sideline.

That goes for players too; the huge expanses of effectively empty turf can throw off the radar, especially for kickers.

There's no cricket pitch in the middle during winter but the hard wicket square isn’t completely gone, creating a harder patch in the middle that is also less absorbent, meaning water runs off creating a slightly boggier patch around the outside of the square – all within the playing area.

There was an element of disappointment within the Roosters squad at initially learning the redevelopment of Allianz Stadium would consign them to two years of full-time training and playing on the tricky surface.

Presented with a choice between kicking stones or getting on with it, the Roosters decided if it was a touch tricky for them to train on it should be even tougher for visiting teams who don't get to use the venue regularly.

Countless repetitions later, the Roosters head into the finals with the best 'home' record of any club – if you strip 'home' back to simply include games on their preferred home patch and exclude home games taken to other venues (in the Roosters case that includes home losses at Adelaide and Gosford this year, and a narrow win at Suncorp in Magic Round).

Match: Roosters v Rabbitohs

Finals Week 1 -

Full Time
Roosters

Home Team

Roosters

Scored 30 points
Rabbitohs

Away Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 6 points

Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

The Roosters are 8-1 at the SCG this year, the only defeat coming back in round one when the Bunnies started the season hot and the Tricolours came in a little underdone.

"That's secret squirrel business!" Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk says, only half-joking, when pressed by NRL.com about the disadvantages opponents face when visiting the Roosters this year.

"Obviously we get the repetitions on there a thousand times more than anyone else, so that helps.

"I suppose the fields we play on now are rugby league-specific fields with the stadiums in close.

"There is a different dimension for the SCG but at the end of the day we've done a number of training sessions on there and we'll get another one this week.

"I'm not really sure how opposition teams approach it but like any team in this competition we try and make our home ground as formidable as possible for the opposition. So the atmosphere and the stadium plays a part but then hopefully, and more powerfully, our performance plays a part too."

Whether it's the actual ground conditions, the psychological factor, the Roosters' general dominance or a combination of everything, their record at the SCG this year should be giving Wayne Bennett sleepless nights.

In their eight games at the SCG since round one, the Roosters have outscored their opposition 306-66, or an average of 38-8 per game.

Latrell Mitchell has outscored the opposition on his own in every one of those eight games, for a total of 128 individual points.

They average 1866 run metres per game in those eight games against 1360, with 54 tries to 12, 50 line breaks to 20, and 36 busts per game against 24.

There are no stark differences between the kick outcomes at the ground between the Roosters and their opponents in terms of kicks finding or not finding touch, or forcing repeat sets or rolling dead.

There has only been one kick go out on the full all year and that was off Cronk's boot (a high bomb from very close to the sideline in the win over the Dragons) while there have only been two 40/20s (one each by Jake Friend and James Maloney).

"The field's the same size but obviously the vision does change a little bit," Cronk adds. "Hopefully it's a bit more magnified on Friday night against Souths and a bit more executed by us."

And does it really make it tougher for kickers?

"For me no, but for oppositions yes!" he laughs.