Anticipation builds for South Sydney fans in 2012
“When speaking of the champions – one stands above the rest” – the first line of the first verse of the most famous song in rugby league Glory, Glory to South Sydney.
Obviously of late, the champions of Redfern Oval have become a thing of the past. Unfortunately I have never witnessed a South Sydney Premiership, but from the stories that I have heard from my father and uncles, I need to experience one in my life time to feel complete.
Its frustrating, but season after season, little factors have unscrewed the cap to our success.
Obviously being kicked out of the comp for a few years didn’t help, but It helped us Bunnies supporters fall in love with our club once again. I mean that in the sense that by fighting for what’s ours, we’ve gained a significant part of the club to embed into our hearts.
Anyways back to the present. Last season when the club announced Michael Maguire was to become our head coach, I responded by saying “who?” I wasn’t too confident in a Super League coach could take the mess that was 2011 and transform it into a premiership winning side.
But its now midway through the season and my belief that success is near has risen to a level beyond my own expectations. There’s something different about the club this year, not the obvious – the physical changes to our side, like the fresh new wave of youth bombarding the first team, but in terms of our attitude towards the game. Our emotional perspective and mentality has changed significantly. We always were the side to come back and snatch victory from an opposition’s grasp, but this season there’s more to those last minute wins, and those stand out performances.
I don’t remember the last time I have seen South Sydney exhibit this sort of toughness and consistency in their game, it’s refreshing, and I put that all down to Maguire and his tactics. There are also other changes that I have noticed which have been altered from our game.
There is a stronger sense of team unity. Whether its on the field or off the field, you rarely see these boys not interacting, bantering and socialising with each other.
We have conceded a lot of points this season, but we have enhanced our defensive structure. Our defensive performance against Brisbane was beautiful to see, we were in our quarter for majority of the game, and we wore ourselves to exhaustion through it, but when have Souths displayed such resilience recently?
The youth are screaming to be heard – we’ve seen a wave of youngsters make their debut this season. Adam Reynolds is the exact youth prototype that I want to see playing for Souths. He is the ideal halfback who fits in with our play and understands the game so well. He is doing magnificently well in his debut season, its scary to think of how much he will improve with experience.
Another notable debutant this season has been Andrew Everingham. His debut against Parity was the stuff you can only dream about, yet he stomped his mark on first grade in the first five minutes. I’ve also been impressed with Justin Hunt. Also, having been down to North Sydney Oval several times this season, and arriving a few hours early to watch the Toyota Cup action, we have the players that can easily make their mark in first grade. Names include Curtis Johnston, Blake Judd, Luke Keary, James Roberts, Adrian Ha’angana and Tyrone Phillips.
Maguire has made sure that it’s his way or the highway. His stern but democratic approach this season has made sure that the ones lagging and not performing at their best will be given a wake-up call. One thing we’ve learned about Madge this season is that he isn’t afraid to make the tough calls when needed. And bless him for that.
So were sitting seventh on the ladder with nine rounds of the season remaining. Injuries haven’t been to kind to us, but were getting there, I firmly believe we will make the finals.
Is it selfish of me to want more than that? We have a brilliant squad with great depth, we have so much going for us. Inglis is destructive from the back, Taylor can change a game with a simple barging run and we can bring on the likes of Jason Clarke, and Dave Tyrrell or Nathan Peats and they will defend their hearts and put in as much effort as a starting player.
We have Burgess brothers and Dylan Farrell who at times can be the best centre In the game. We have so much quality, and because of that I want a top four finish. I want us loyal supporters draped in Cardinal and Mertyl to cheer on our boys on home soil, is it too much to ask?
Our game and structure is thriving in all aspects, except in terms of self belief. I don’t blame that on the players, as its always been a problem at Souths. But I believe between now and round 26, Madge and his team of whiz kids will find that elusive self belief formula to inject into the squad, and make them feel invincible.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are always associated with words such as pride and glory, and even though we’ve been put through the ringer so many times in our history, the majority of our supporters have always felt a sense of pride and glory in wearing our team colours.
Every afternoon after Uni, I stop at a newsagent to collect the Daily Telegraph. Every time I do, I collect it with my bunnies gear on. The store owner (who is a Balmain fan) always drops compliments about our last game or certain players who have shown their grit. It is certainly a change from seasons past.
I call on all Bunnies supporters to get behind the red and green in the next few weeks and help us finish the season strong. Once we get to play in September, watch us go.
I sense that glory isn’t too far from our sights.