South Sydney takes first Grand Final in 43 years
THE toughness and courage of Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess has never been questioned.
Tonight those qualities were on show for the full 80 minutes of the grand final against the Bulldogs.
Burgess appeared to fracture his right cheekbone in the very first hit-up of the game after a head clash with fellow Englishman James Graham.
Burgess played on despite the injury, and never took a backward step.
SOUTHS rookie Alex Johnston has been a revelation in his first NRL season, keeping the club's record try-scorer Nathan Merritt out of the team.
Johnston bagged 17 four-pointers in the home-and-away series, behind only Jarryd Hayne, Semi Radradra and Jarrad Croker.
That haul came from just 15 games, so it was no surprise he was the first player to score last night.
THE Dogs' inability to score second-half tries - they managed just three in the seven games prior to last night's grand final - was a major talking point in the lead-up to the game.
Trailing 6-0 at the break, they had to be the first team to score in the second half and they were when Tony Williams ran on to a perfect grubber from Josh Reynolds in the 49th minute.
THE Burgess boys were certainly in the wars against Canterbury.
Not only did Sam play the full game with a fractured cheekbone, brother George had to go off with concussion after a heavy knock from the restart following Johnston's try.
Like his older brother, George had no thought of giving it away and returned to play a magnificent game, scoring a try in the 57th minute that ended the Bulldogs' hopes.
EARLIER: Wayne 'Ticker' Heming and Josh Spasaro tackle the NRL Grand Final
JOIN the conversation as Wayne 'Ticker' Heming and Josh Spasaro live blog the 2014 NRL grand final clash between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Our live chat opens at 4pm ahead of the night's game.