"Souths-Roosters two weeks in a row is like having two Christmases."
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson stopped short of endorsing that comment from a reporter ahead of Friday night's qualifying final against South Sydney at the SCG but he did agree the familiarity between the two teams would ensure a different approach to most games.
The Roosters will head into the match stinging from a 16-10 loss to the Rabbitohs last Friday night after dominating the first half and have had the luxury of being able to study their opponents in more detail than usual because of the homework they'd done the previous week.
It is the same for Souths and their coach Wayne Bennett, who said on Thursday that his players would take confidence out of their come from behind win.
Both line-ups have significant changes, with Luke Keary, Siosiua Taukeiho, Brett Morris and Mitchell Aubusson returning for the Roosters and Souths welcoming back George Burgess and James Roberts, but Bennett said the Rabbitohs preparations hadn't changed.
"They will be a bit different because those guys all bring different things but the Roosters have a style of play that they play every week," Bennett said.
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With the Roosters expected to play Canberra until the Raiders lost to the Warriors last Saturday, Robinson said he and his coaching staff had spent time studying them but they were already familiar with the Rabbitohs.
"We did both teams and we were ready for both," Robinson said. "The only thing we did was double up our time, so the only people who suffered were our families.
"We have obviously played them twice [in round one and 25] and bookended the year, we know what style they play, we know what they have wanted to do in games as well, and we have improved from last week, that's how I feel about it.
"I know that we have worked hard on the things that we want to do, and what they wanted to do last week and in round one, so we are ready to get better again and go after them tomorrow night."
While much has been made about the Roosters record at the SCG, where they have lost just once this year, that defeat was to the Rabbitohs, and Bennett said his players looked forward to playing at the scene of so many of the club's 21 grand final triumphs.
"It's a great place for South Sydney, outside of Redfern it's a place they call home," Bennett said. "It's a pleasure to be there. If I was a player I would want to play at the SCG and I would want to play there every day of the week if you let me.
"It has got such great history, it is a great ground to play at, we played there in the first game of the season, we didn't have a problem with it and we won't have a problem tomorrow night. We want to be there and we are pleased to be there."
The rivalry between the two 1908 foundation clubs is the biggest in the game and Souths co-owner Russell Crowe reminded his players of what was at stake besides a week off and place in the grand final qualifier when he visited training this week armed with a copy of the Book of Feuds.
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Bennett declined to reveal what Crowe had said to him or the players, but Robinson played down the impact it would have on the match.
"In any team, you try to get motivation from an area," Robinson said. "Motivation is a really important part but that lasts for a short period of time and character lasts for a long period of time.
"What you really want is for your character to come out and that's what we've concentrated on this week."
Bennett also did not want to divulge his opinion of the one-match suspension imposed on Souths captain Sam Burgess for pulling the hair of Roosters winger Billy Smith but he expects another fiery clash between the two teams.
"There's plenty of [emotion] around, there's a lot of history between both clubs," Bennett said.
"You look at last week, there was a bit of emotion and passion out there last week, so I've got to assume tomorrow will be no different."