A founding member of rugby league in Australia, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, have had more success than any other team.
Unfortunately for the fans who bleed red and green, there was an extended period of suffering. 1990 to 2006 were dreadful. If you watch footage of games in the 1990s, you often see players and teams racking up points milestones against the Bunnies.
There is no other way to describe the team’s performances than dreadful.
Then late in 1999, controversy swamped the game like a dark fog when the NRL decided to expel the Rabbitohs from the game. A manifest injustice had occurred. Fortunately for South Sydney fans, George Piggins and his team refused to give up the fight. The Bunnies were readmitted into the competition after missing two full seasons.
Once back, it was the same old Bunnies of the 90s. They were the whipping boys of the competition. However, a once mighty club had something in its favour. The masses. Being so successful in its rich history meant the club had a considerable number of fans.
One such fan was the Gladiator Russell Crowe. A mad passionate supporter who, along with businessmen and Souths fan Peter Holmes a Court, decided to turn the club around. The vote was close, but the men got the numbers they needed. The Bunnies’ road to glory had taken its first steps.
As all who play and watch this great game would attest, winning titles is not easy. It seemed something was missing from the South Sydney side. Yes, they had improved under new ownership making the eight in 2007 but struggled to make the eight after that.
The missing ingredient arrived for the 2012 season after a stint with English power club Wigan.
Michael Maguire added the necessary touch as Souths finished third in his first season with the club. Many thought 2013 would be the year the drought would end. Disappointment followed with a shocking loss to Manly. They finished third again.
Then in 2014, the magic happened. Any Souths fans that were present that day felt they were part of history. They were there for the club’s 21st title.
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It has since been a slow decline since. In 2015 the club finished seventh. In 2016 and 2017 the club missed the semi-finals altogether. Not good enough for a membership-based organisation. Michael Maguire was moved on, and Anthony Seibold replaced him.
It is hoped the new coach Seibold will bring a unique playing style replacing one that had run its course. There are many questions Souths fans are pondering.
Will the new coach bring an exciting style of play? Will Greg Inglis remain injury free? Will George and Tom Burgess hold the ball? Will Adam Reynolds play like he wants to be on the field? Will Sam Burgess maintain the rage? Will the club make the eight?
Only the season that awaits will answer these questions.
As a fan myself, I hope to see the Burgess twins return to their rampaging best. I hope Inglis remains injury free because, firstly, he’s a great player who is a pleasure to watch and, secondly, the side will struggle without him.
I look forward to seeing a new style of play that may mean Adam Reynolds gets a new sense of energy and plays like a State of Origin player – the level of player that he is capable of being. I’m sure Sam will maintain the rage as always, I just hope he and squad remain injury free.
So, if all goes well then, maybe, the eight awaits in 2018.