Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on the charge against the Rabbitohs in Round 22.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on the charge against the Rabbitohs in Round 22.

Why the Roosters, Sharks look set for grand final showdown

THE Roosters and the Sharks have dominant records over their preliminary finals opponents in recent times.

The Rabbitohs and the Storm have the players to win the grand final in 2018, but they have to get there first.

Fox Sports Lab statistics reveal that the Sharks have won five of their last seven against the Storm and four of their last five.

Worse still for Craig Bellamy's men is that Cronulla have won on their last two visits to AAMI Park.

The Roosters have an eerily similar record against the Rabbitohs, having won five of their past seven clashes with their fierce rivals.

The Roosters have also won four of their last five against the Rabbitohs, including a last start 18-14 win in Round 22.

However strangely the Rabbitohs have won two of the last three games between the sides at Allianz Stadium, which will host Saturday's preliminary final.

Of course anything can happen in finals footy and much will depend on injuries and players taking their chances throughout the two preliminary finals.

The Rabbitohs and the Storm have more men on deck at this time of year, with Dylan Napa and Latrell Mitchell suspended for the Roosters.

The Sharks will be without Wade Graham and possibly skipper Paul Gallen for their clash with the Storm.

However with a grand final berth just 80 minutes away, the memory of four defeats in their last five games against their opponents, should make the Rabbitohs and Storm nervous.

Mind games play a big part at this time of year and the Sharks and the Roosters players have the belief that they can get past Melbourne and South Sydney and book a grand final showdown on September 30.

The Storm host the Sharks at AAMI Park on Friday in the first preliminary final, while the Roosters host the Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.