After Sunday’s Houdini act against the Wests Tigers, the headlines were always going to be about Greg Inglis and his field goal. They were always going to be about Sam Burgess’ injury.
The superstars may get the headlines, but there is a group of young firebrands who continue to toil for the South Sydney Rabbitohs without the fanfare of Souths’ big name recruits. They are the ones driving Souths forward.
Hit by injury over the last few seasons, Souths have failed to make the playoffs. A disappointing fact for any supporter of the most successful club in the history of rugby league in this country.
But through all the hardships, missing superstars and lost games have emerged some of the hardest working youngsters in the game.
Thrown into the deep end because they had to, these boys quickly became men. They may not ever run the length of the field to score untouched and they may never kick the winning field goal. But these guys are the heart and soul of the Rabbitoh renaissance that continues to tease us.
Guys like Jason Clark and Chris McQueen. Like Nathan Peats and Dave Tyrell.
Already they have 140 games between them.
The Rabbitohs may have giants like Dave Taylor and Sam Burgess taking them forward. But its these guys that give Souths that edgy toughness. A dogged trait that all good National Rugby League teams need.
Souths coach Michael Maguire was still shocked Sunday afternoon.
“I’m probably still trying to believe that we actually won” Maguire said.
“We’ve spoken about playing for 80 minutes and we played right to the death and we came up with a bit of joy at the end”.
“We’ve taken a step forward.”
Now the Rabbitohs can add another terrier to this pugnacious core. Rookie halfback Adam Reynolds.
The diminutive playmaker plays well above his weight and refuses to take a backward step when push comes to shove.
A true test of his character came on Sunday when he needed a conversion to send the game into golden point after earlier missing a sitter. He kicked it.
“The first one was a shocker, so I was a bit nervous with the second one” Reynolds said.
“Fortunately, I hit it well and it went over. I get all the boys to gee me up at training, try to put a bit of pressure on.
“It’s another kick, but there was more pressure on.”
The Rabbitohs now turn their attention to the Canterbury Bulldogs and a Friday afternoon showdown at ANZ Stadium.
If Souths win, Inglis or Taylor will probably get the accolades. But spare a second to remember the kids doing the tough stuff. The dirty work nobody ever really sees.
While fans love superstars, no team has ever won a premiership without the guys that do the tough stuff.