State pride on line as Rabbitohs and Roosters clash

THIS is Sydney's suburban version of State of Origin.

When foundation clubs South Sydney and the Roosters (Eastern Suburbs) renew hostilities, the form guide goes out the window and emotion, pride and passion take over.

Between them, these two clubs won six of the first seven premierships, triggering a fierce rivalry which has continued for 100 years.

Tonight will be no different in their 212th meeting since South Sydney triumphed in the inaugural premiership in 1908.

On paper, the Roosters should wrap up the club's third-straight minor premiership with a 12th-straight win, a magnificent coaching feat by Trent Robinson.

The Rabbitohs, who accounted for the Roosters 34-26 in round two, go into this clash struggling with form and weighed down by injury and suspension to star players Greg Inglis, Issac Luke and John Sutton.

The premiers are a far cry from the power side that broke the club's 43-year premiership drought in style last season, and started 2015 as if they were invincible and on their way to the first back-to-back premierships since Brisbane (1992-93).

The Roosters, who may get Shaun Kenny-Dowall back, had few worries covering key losses of halfback Mitchell Pearce and power forward Jarred Waerea-Hargreaves last weekend.

Souths coach Michael Maguire has named Cameron McInnes at hooker, Chris McQueen in the starting pack, Dylan Walker in the centres and Alex Johnston at fullback for Inglis.

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