Will there be glory for South Sydney in 2018?

Mark Campbell Roar Guru

By Mark Campbell, Mark Campbell is a Roar Guru

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    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.

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (84)

    • January 12th 2018 @ 2:12am
      jeff dustby said | January 12th 2018 @ 2:12am | ! Report

      An informative and insteresting look at the pride of the league. Very well written, I hope the rampaging Inglis is back to his best and the new coach shows signs of being the new Wayne Bennett

      • January 12th 2018 @ 8:24am
        Peter Phelps said | January 12th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        I agree and hope that Inglis can do a Billy Slater in 2018 and come back with a bang. If he does, then Souths should make the eight. Unfortunately, Inglis has been a bit hit and miss ever since that premiership win. Has he rekindled his love of RL or as the fire been extinguished. We shall soon see.

    • January 12th 2018 @ 4:15am
      PanthertillIdie said | January 12th 2018 @ 4:15am | ! Report

      No

    • January 12th 2018 @ 4:21am
      Roostermark said | January 12th 2018 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      Doubtful, Inglis is getting on and is more injury prone the older he gets and whilst Sam Burgess is a fine player his two other brothers aren’t in the same league as him. Doubt they will make the eight.

    • Roar Guru

      January 12th 2018 @ 7:11am
      The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      Souths still look to have quite an imbalanced, top heavy squad.

      I think it really depends on what they get out of the Burgess twins. They are soaking up a fair bit of cap but not delivering commensurate to their pay cheques.

      Tough gig for a rookie coach.

      Interested to see how Gagai goes. Has he become one of those Queensland specialists?

      Also keen to see what their starting 17 looks like:

      1 Inglis 2 Johnston 3 Gagai 4 ???? 5 ???? 6 Walker 7 Reynolds 8 ? Burgess 9 Cook 10 Musgrove 11 Crichton 12 Murray? 13 S Burgess

      That’s not too bad I guess but the quality drops off pretty quickly after that.

      It’s a huge shame that Dave ‘Tackle Bag’ Tyrrell has been released. I’ll have to find the YouTube highlights reel of his big hits…apparently it goes for 45 minutes and Dave makes two tackles in it. At least he’s now free to commence his post footy career… as a crash test dummy.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 10:00am
        Albo said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        A bit cruel but fair enough, Baz !
        I just think there are too many question marks over many players in that Souths squad, to feel too optimistic about their chances in 2018. At their best players like Inglis, Walker, Gagai & Johnston can devastating , but recent club form is patchy or has been injury riddled. A player like Gagai excels in a good team like QLD, but in an ordinary club side like Newcastle or like the recent South’s teams have been, he has been and will likely be far less impacting. There must be queries over GI’s physical and mental capacity these days to be too optimistic of a return to past greatness ? In the forwards they have big Sam on his last legs, and youngsters Crichton ( already dreaming of Bondi ) & Murray , whilst the rest have been ordinary for a long time. Reynolds has a great kicking game , but he is injury prone and his organisational skills in general, are average for an NRL number 7. Farah & Cook play well in patches at dummy half without scaring too many opposition teams. I can’t believe they have given John Sutton another contract ? Surely a bench player when injuries are high, only ? If he plays at 6 back the opposition. Perhaps the new coach might have a dramatic impact on their attitude and desire for success, but I still think their roster is too limited to expect much improvement on last seasons results.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 10:03am
        KingCowboy said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        I get that most of what you said is tongue in cheek kind of stuff TB re Tyrrell but every club needs a player like him. Just gets through his work and seems to be low maintenance. We have Scott Bolton and the Storm have Gasby.

        I personally think Tyrrell should be very happy with what he has done with his talents, like you said TB he kept getting smashed one week but he would turn and do the same thing the next week.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 10:12am
          Albo said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          You can’t compare Tyrrell with Bolton & Glasby, KC ? . Bolton was one of the best forwards in the comp last year & Glasby played for a strong Storm team and SOO level. Tyrrell made up the numbers in the Souths roster, turned up to play 20 minutes each week and got belted for little positive impact for his team’s performance.

        • Roar Guru

          January 12th 2018 @ 10:32am
          The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

          It is tongue in cheek. I do respect him for carving out a pretty solid first grade career including a premiership. More than any of us have done in the game.

          I’ve never seen anyone though – other than maybe Martin Lang – get creamed as regularly as Tyrrell though. Must be a tough bugger.

          I wouldn’t put him anywhere near the quality of Bolton. Bolton is unsung but really contributes, bends the line, bashes blokes. I don’t know that Tyrrell has ever got to that level. I don’t think he compares to Glasby either.

          Still, without guys like Tyrrell and Clarke putting in their shifts on low wages, Souths wouldn’t have had the Burgos and Te’o etc or a premiership.

          • Roar Guru

            January 12th 2018 @ 11:34am
            Nat said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            Jason Clarke also gave the game international exposure with that gash to his forehead. Ronaldo would have been helicoptered to Barca’s private hospital wing for such an event.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 10:22am
        Ken said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Yep, Souths strike me as not getting good value out of their cap at the moment.

        It’s not just the Burgess twins though. Sam’s contract is possibly the biggest in the game (depending on the veracity of reports of course). He is still an elite player but I would argue he hasn’t supplied that sort of value since coming back from RU.

        While I think most RL fans would love to see Inglis back at full capacity there’s got to be serious doubts about what his body still has to offer. He’s still going to be on big money though I would expect.

        It’s still a decent looking side, but there’s a few holes.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 11:03am
        Rod said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Well at least the tackle bag has a premiership ring. I’m backing the rabbits to be a least a head of the Dogs by seasons end. But honestly that ain’t saying much as they have been for the last 18 months . The worst football side to watch in living memory.

        Des signed the tackle bag Mk11 for another three years, as he was the greatest prop in the game.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 11:25am
          BA Sports said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

          Ask and you shall receive TB…

        • Roar Guru

          January 12th 2018 @ 12:02pm
          The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          That’s nice. As bad as the Bulldogs have been over those 18 months they’ve still finished a head of Souths.

          Two points and one spot higher last year. 10 points and five positions higher in 2016.

          Still the Rabbitohs must have great to watch…

          • Roar Rookie

            January 13th 2018 @ 7:50am
            3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 13th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

            So what?
            The 2014 Grand Final win smashing your puppies 30 to 6 beats everything else.

            By the way TB this will be Souths team in 2018.
            Souths 40 man Full-Time Squad.
            It may change for Rd 1

            01 Greg Inglis
            02 Alex Johnston
            03 Dane Gagai
            04 Campbell Graham
            05 Richie Kennar
            06 Cody Walker
            07 Adam Reynolds
            08 Thomas Burgess
            09 Damien Cook
            10 Sam Burgess
            11 Angus Crichton
            12 John Sutton
            13 Cameron Murray
            Bench:
            14 Tyrell Fuimaono
            15 Mark Nicholls
            16 Zane Musgrove
            17 George Burgess
            Reserves:
            18 Jason Clark
            19 Robert Jennings
            20 Dean Britt
            21 Adam Doueihi

            Reggies
            01 Jesse Arthars
            02 Braidon Burns
            03 Hymel Hunt
            04 Robert Jennings
            05 Jacob Gagan
            06 Adam Doueihi
            07 Connor Tracey
            08 Vincent Leuluai
            09 Robbie Farah
            10 Jason Clark
            11 Junior Tatola
            12 Dean Britt
            13 Kyle Turner
            14 Billy Brittain
            15 Lucky Taavale
            16 Ky Rodwell
            17 Sam Johnstone
            18 Siosifa Talakai

            Players leftover/U20s
            Tyrone Taukamo
            Mawene Hirote
            Dean Hawkins
            Jesse Martin
            Josh Cook

            • January 13th 2018 @ 2:57pm
              Birdy said | January 13th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

              Farah in Reggies.
              Sad , funny
              Someone should whisper in his ear about retiring.

            • Roar Guru

              January 14th 2018 @ 1:28pm
              The Barry said | January 14th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

              So what?

              Old mate was telling me how bad the Bulldogs were over the last 18 months. Which they were…still comfortably better than Souths.

              You can bag the Morris’ all you like but Richie Kennar was well down the pecking order behind them and Montoya, Stanley, Smith, etc

              So good luck with a Bulldogs benchie…and John Sutton who probably wouldn’t make any other starting side in the comp.

          • January 14th 2018 @ 4:12pm
            Rod said | January 14th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            I agree Souths have not been great. But they were better to watch through my red and green eyes.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 13th 2018 @ 9:20am
        3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 13th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        Souths have a Stronger squad than your Dogs Baz, We don’t have any old Pensioners like the Morris Twins whom your Administration tried to palm off to us 3 months ago!

        Farah is our oldest but that was a Maguire inclusion.
        Many dud players that Maguire brought in over the past 2 years have all been released.
        Rochow, Cherrington, Kelly, Neilson,
        And a few Injury prone players like Gray, who will most likely be playing for Newtown this season.

        Souths have invested in youth by bringing up our better juniors and some brought in who played Matts and Ball with us!
        Cameron Murray, Campbell Graham Siosifa Talakai, Ky Rodwell 2020, Sam Johnstone, Tyrone Taukamo,
        Dean Hawkins, Josh Cook 2019, Lucky Kenneth Taavale, Marwene Hirote

        And also bringing in the best youth talent available from other clubs.
        Tyrell Fuimaono, Robert Jennings, Richard Kennar, Dean Britt, Adam Doueihi, Vincent Leuluai
        Jesse Arthars, Connor Tracey, Jesse Martin, Junior Tatola

        Many are in the Junior NSW Rep system and former Junior Kangaroos and Australian schoolboys!
        We brought in 5 players from the Storm system!

        The Rabbitohs will improve on the previous few seasons, you can count on it!
        I expect between 7th to 10th would be my guess.

        The Rabbitohs missed the Finals by 3 wins last season but many losses were extremely controversial but we weren’t at our best.

        P.S. Inglis is fit and ready to go, regardless what you read in the Rags!

    • January 12th 2018 @ 7:15am
      BA Sports said | January 12th 2018 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      I know I will get in trouble for saying this…
      It was great for Souths fans to get their team back, etc., etc, But you have to wonder what it has cost the NRL?
      If Souths don’t come back in 2002, you have to think at some point soon after a 16th team would have been introduced. One would hope it would have been in Perth or Brisbane and we would now be 15 years down the track, which is probably at least three better TV deals worth more to the game, and potentially more sponsors and fans as a result of a more national game.

      Instead we are still stuck in the position of too many teams in Sydney and the ridiculous situation that Souths fans have to travel through the regions of at least two other clubs in order to get to their “home ground”. They have played 117 home games at ANZ Stadium and 45 times there have been more than 71,000+ empty seats in the 83,000 capacity stadium. – I guess those people fell off the Harbour Bridge after the march or couldn’t afford the train fair to ANZ. Would we have lost some fans if Souths never returned – sure. But I look at all those empty seats at ANZ every week and wonder what it has cost the game in the long run? What is the strategy for bringing them back? Surely “tradition” carries only minimal strategic value going forward.

      As a result, we are stuck in the same position of too many team in Sydney and sooner or later someone will have to relocate or go and people will march again and people will be upset and the game will suffer from instability – all of which could have been avoided with strong management that stuck to their guns back in 2001.

      And author, I am sure THREE HATS or someone will skip right through your post and go straight to the comments after you started your second par with “fans bleed green and red”. The fans that bleed for the club, bleed cardinal and myrtle.

      • Roar Guru

        January 12th 2018 @ 7:35am
        The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        I was thinking something similar but didn’t want to open that can of worms.

        Was it the ultimate act of selfishness?

        I don’t think there can be too many neutral arguments that another team jammed in Central Sydney is better for the game.

        I guess on the con side is that it not just costs the game players but costs them juniors as well.

        I wonder though how long Souths continues to be a great junior nursery as more and more of its heartland with areas like Redfern, Waterloo, Alexandria, Zetland, Mascot, etc getting gentrified and less family friendly and affordable.

        Happened in the Eastern Suburbs…Bondi, Paddington, Coogee, Woolloomoolo, etc.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 13th 2018 @ 8:42am
          3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 13th 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          Souths have way more Juniors and BETTER QUALITY than your Dogs.

          How many Dogs Juniors are being selected in the NSW Junior Origins, 16s, 18s, and 20s!
          OR the Australian Junior Kangaroos or the Australian Schoolboys?

          NONE… but plenty of Souths kids still are.
          The latest kids are Campbell Graham and Cameron Murray!
          Who have you got?

          Liccaa is from Wollongong
          Cleeland is from Ipswich!

          • Roar Guru

            January 14th 2018 @ 1:33pm
            The Barry said | January 14th 2018 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            Good one. Absolutely nothing to do with anything I wrote.

          • January 20th 2018 @ 12:48pm
            ChristopherGrant said | January 20th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            I’m sure the Roosters would enjoy the Junior system it had, before the move..

      • January 12th 2018 @ 9:43am
        Jeff dustby said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        Every that with the exception of last year Souths have the best or close to the best crowds in Sydney
        Just recently they were averaging over 20k
        The fact that there are empty seats means nothing. Is a 20k team in a 50k stadium a better team than one that plays in a 80k stadium ?
        Blame that on ANZ stadium paying over
        They have been profitable and has more memberships than most clubs

        I’m am by no means a Souths supporter

        • January 12th 2018 @ 10:05am
          BA Sports said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Jeff – 45 of 117 home games less than 12,000 people in the ground. – and their home ground is slap bang in the middle of Sydney for all away fans to get to – not like a Manly fan having to get to Penrith or Cronulla (for example). In contrast the Bulldogs, in their last 117 home games at ANZ have had 23 crowds under 12,000. Half! So please dispense with the stadium argument.

          We all have our issues with that venue for a regular season ground, but their crowds are not much different to other Sydney clubs – up when they are going well, but that is it. The point being, the notion they were so overwhelming important to the league is a myth and the game would have been better to ride out the pain in getting a side out of the crowded Sydney market, instead of having to go through it all again at some time in the near future.

      • Roar Guru

        January 12th 2018 @ 9:47am
        Nat said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        I’m all for expansion but not one to say which clubs should stay/go, however, I do have empathy for Souths. I know I can be pretty ruthless about ‘champagne’ fans who only show up in the good times and my No 1 question to the 20k ‘fans’ who marched was “where were you all these years prior?”. After going to games as far as Perth, Cairns, Suncorp, SFS and Redfern (back in the day) I believe there is something special about this club. There is a cultural attachment, evryone’s 2nd team if you will and it means a lot to many league followers around the nation. Until relatively recently most clubs were run poorly predominantly by ex players, all with good intentions but ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. So the take over of Holmes a Court/ Crowe introduced business intellect, contacts and cash then subsequently pride. Although the Armani suits were a stretch. So, I acknowledge the history of this club and the passion of the fans nation wide.

        I understand what you’re saying though TB re gentrification and not sure if Souths can do an Easts with corporate involvement but, for mine, it would be a sad day them bow out again. Good on you BA for referring to them as the Cardinal & Myrtle… Come on Mark – Red and Green?

        • Roar Guru

          January 12th 2018 @ 10:07am
          The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          I don’t really want to see them gone either…from a 100% selfish point of view I’d rather watch a Bulldogs v Souths game than a Bulldogs v Adelaide.

          But it is a logjam. South Sydney is South Sydney in name only. Souths fans may not like it but geographically it’s very much the eastern suburbs of Sydney. So two teams in such a tiny space is a problem.

          Souths juniors have been so good because historically places like Mascot, Alexandria, Zetland, Maroubra, Matraville, etc have been tough areas that have produced tough kids and tough footballers. Still do, but the demographic is changing massively.

          • January 12th 2018 @ 10:27am
            Peter Phelps said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            “I’d rather watch a Bulldogs v Souths game than a Bulldogs v Adelaide.”

            Now there is a comment I don’t get. Since Adelaide don’t exist (yet) how can you know that they wont be the most exciting team to ever hit the NRL and whilst you might prefer to watch souths play the bulldogs, I am damn sure that any RL fans in the whole state of SA would sooner watch any team from Adelaide. Trouble is that right now those Adelaide fans have got sweet nothing whilst you have several to choose from and that is all without crossing the bridge.

            I don’t think you realise how condescending some of these comments sound to fans in unsupported areas of the country.

            • Roar Guru

              January 12th 2018 @ 10:42am
              The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

              Of course if Adelaide had a star studded side I’d be keen to watch them. But on balance, with all other things being equal, I’d rather watch a Bulldogs v Souths game than Bulldogs v Adelaide.

              There’s history involved. Souths and Bulldogs have been playing each other for 80 years. They’ve met in two(?) grand finals, numerous semi finals. I have mates who are Souths fans.

              It means more than just the quality of the 34 blokes that run out in the field. That’s a big part of what sport represents.

              Why does an Ashes series mean more than Australia v Bangladesh? I’m not offending Bangladeshis any more than I’m intending to offend Adelantans, Adelodians, Adamantiums….whatever ?

              I do feel for Adelaide NRL fans but putting a whole franchise in a city to keep two blokes happy seems excessive.

              Didn’t you post something the other day about people in this day and age being to quick to take offence?

              • Roar Guru

                January 12th 2018 @ 10:48am
                The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

                I also acknowledged that it was “a 100% selfish point of view…”

              • January 12th 2018 @ 11:49am
                Peter Phelps said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                I did TB and my post was a deliberately provocative because I feel these discussions get all too parochial at times.

                I am an avid RL fan having spent my youth in the North of England and being very much a part of the game before being relocated to a Rugby League wilderness in WA. I was starved of the game and maybe my early promise as a player was stifled (we will never know). In those days, you couldn’t even get the game on tv out there let alone anything else. My mates and I would throw a footy around but the whole school system was against us. The frustration we felt as kids was enormous. I moved to Melbourne in 2001 and thank the lord I finally had a team though tv coverage of the game was virtually none existent so watching away matches was impossible if you couldn’t afford fox.

                But it is my understanding of those deep frustrations for any RL fan out there without a team to support to observe some of the selfish comments on here that causes me to react.

                My response was not so much about sensitivity at your comments nor was it aimed at you per se but at the general flow of comments to that point. A reminder that there are RL fans in the wider Australia does good sometimes.

              • Roar Guru

                January 12th 2018 @ 12:06pm
                The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                I get where you’re coming from but the fact that an non-defined number of locals don’t have a team to support isn’t a good enough reason to put an NRL club in a location.

                Otherwise where does it stop…kids in Wagga, Bundaberg, Darwin, Hobart, Geelong, Batemans Bay, Port Macquarie, etc, etc don’t have a team to follow.

                Anyway I don’t want to hijack this excellent article about Souths 2018 prospects with a debate about expansion…another day Pete!

              • January 12th 2018 @ 12:48pm
                Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                I lived in Adelaide for over 25 years – I think the locals are called Adelaidians TB – really rolls off the tongue. I left in the mid 1990s. There was virtually no interest in NRL when I lived in Adelaide. I knew very little about the game as well. The locals think both codes are called rugby. NRL got no coverage in the local papers whatsoever.The only time you saw a game was State of Origin (delayed until 10.30 pm), Test matches against England at night in the off season and the Grand Final if you were lucky. I managed to catch the Raiders GF win over the Balmain in 89 – which just happened to be the greatest GF of all time – so my introduction to the game was pretty impressive and my support of the Raiders started from then.

                I’m tempted to say that there is very little chance of starting an NRL team in Adelaide. They had a crack with the Adelaide Rams which fell over after only two years. The only thing that stops me from saying there is no chance is the success of the Storm in the mad AFL city of Melbourne. Adelaide is virtually the little brother of Melbourne. Very similar lifestyle, climate and mad interest in AFL. If I had a choice I’d much prefer to see a second Brisbane team as the next expansion team.

                Interesting comments here about the prospects for Souths and the Bulldogs this season. I’d be shocked if they finished above the Raiders this year. But of course a lot of us are basing our judgements on 2017 form. The Raiders were disappointing in 2017 after a brilliant 2016 but the Dogs and Rabbitohs were worse and quite frankly horrible to watch. With new coaches and a few changes to their rosters they may well improve. There are always a couple of teams that emerge and perform above expectations like Manly and the Dragons did last year when everybody wrote them off before the season started. It will be interesting to see who emerges this year.

              • Roar Guru

                January 12th 2018 @ 2:20pm
                The Barry said | January 12th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

                Yeah, I’m taking it easy in declaring the Bulldogs hopes this season

                There’s too many question marks for me to have any sort of confidence in the season ahead.

                – Will Mbye work at fullback?
                – Will Hoppa work in the centres?
                – Can Foran still play?
                – Can he strike up a combo with whoever he’s in the halves with?
                – Will Lichaa play like he did in his last three games or his last three seasons?
                – Can Pay coach?
                – Will he give young blokes a go?
                – Will their style change? (has to)

                A lot of those questions are about the spine which is never good in the lead in to a new season but it definitely needed an overhaul.

                If some or most of that list clicks and the answer is yes then I think they can have a good season. If it doesn’t it is likely to be pretty grim.

                I’m confident about the forwards aiming up and matching most packs. But the rest – who knows?

                Full strength the side looks pretty good. This wouldn’t necessarily be my team but they could line up like:

                1 Mbye 2 Montoya 3 Morris 4 Hopoate 5 Morris 6 Frawley 7 Foran 8 Tolman 9 Lichaa 10 Woods 11 Jackson 12 Elliott 13 Klemmer

                With reserves forwards to come from RFM, Fualalo, Martin, Priest, Eastwood, To’omaga, Griffin and reserve backs Stanley, Holland, Brown, Smith, Cleeland.

                I’d like to see Martin and Griffen given a go in the forwards. I think Klemmer and Woods props, Griffin at 13 and Tolman and Fualalo on the bench is far more balanced. I’d also start Cleveland at 6.

              • January 12th 2018 @ 3:46pm
                Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | January 12th 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                Hear you. I’m being pretty quiet on the Raiders chances this season too Baz. So many ifs and buts. Not much in the recruitment department as they’ve retained the bulk of the squad. Disappointing to lose big Dave Taylor and Kurt Baptiste off the bench but the salary cap and need to retain the top 13 meant someone had to go. I would have loved to see both of them stay and used more than they were. Losing Hodgson for the majority of the season is a huge blow. Will young Havilli and Garvey be able to fill his shows? Who knows. Don’t know much about them.

                This is the last chance saloon for Sezer and Austin. If they both step up the Raiders could have a successful year and with Hodgson not around they will need to. There are plenty of Raiders players seeking redemption from last season.

                I’m surprised the Dogs let Brenko Lee go to the Titans – I really rate him. I thought he was your most creative back last season. Your season will depend a lot on how Foran performs. Don’t know about Mbye. I’m not a massive fan. Could be too small at FB but then again Ben Barba killed it when he played at FB for the Dogs.

            • January 17th 2018 @ 4:47pm
              Mushi said | January 17th 2018 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

              Do we extend it to southern Uzbekistan?

          • Roar Guru

            January 12th 2018 @ 10:36am
            Nat said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            Yeah, mine’s an emotional stand point more than rational TB.

            Peter, I would suggest his comment is less about Adelaide than recognising the history of Souths.

            • January 12th 2018 @ 11:52am
              Peter Phelps said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

              I understand that Nat and apologies for any offence.

              What I do not apologise for is reminding people that there are lots of RL fans out there without any team to support.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 10:45am
          Ken said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          I personally don’t see anything particularly special about Souths. They are a historical, foundation club and that counts for something – not much though, it didn’t prevent us letting Wests & Balmain merge, Norths disappear or retire the Bluebags a generation earlier. If the Roosters had been the poorly run team with no success on the horizon in 1999, they would have been let go too.

          Of course they are special to their fans, like any team, but anyone who considers their team to be somehow exalted by other fans is kidding themselves.

          • Roar Guru

            January 12th 2018 @ 11:18am
            Nat said | January 12th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

            Yeah just a personal POV based on my experiences. Empathy more then rational position plus I have no experience with those other clubs you mentioned but I’m sure their fans are just as passionate. Similarly St George, while I’m 100% Broncos, when you can get up to a 60/40 crowd split at Suncorp (every other game 95/5) you have to acknowledge their support base is more far reaching than just their geographical region within Sydney.

            I prefer older character houses too but know they will all eventually make way for the mod cons of a new McMansion someday.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 10:54am
        Adam Bagnall said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        Souths should have never have been allowed back in. They were a basket case and an embarrassment to the game. They didn’t compete in 2001-02 and the game had moved on. Sydney is overcrowded and lack of Souths would have enabled further expansion into a new market, but they were allowed back in. Do they even represent South Sydney? They haven’t played there since 96.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 7:54pm
        Mike from tari said | January 12th 2018 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

        Still have the most paid up members behind only the Broncos & no poker machines so you can pontificate all you want about empty seats, a lot of those 35000 members don’t live in Sydney, now that is national support.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 13th 2018 @ 8:32am
        3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 13th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        American Company BA Sports or who the frig you are…
        I did read the full article.

        The NRL didn’t just “let us back in”
        We won in the Federal Court!

        In that Criterion, before Souths were excluded, Souths were actually in front of the Panthers, the Panthers CEO even said as much publically but because they were SL aligned they got a free kick into the main draw!
        NO SL team was discarded.

        The Auckland Warriors folded a month after we were kicked out, they were dead broke and entered liquidation.
        The NZ Government had to come in and Bankroll them.
        The New Zealand Warriors were born

        The Rabbitohs had over $2M in the bank when we were ejected!

        The Panthers tried to form a Merger with Parramatta but were told that wasn’t necessary as Souths “CARD” was marked well before any such Criteria was even established.

        Sharks on Finance
        The Sharks hastily tried to form a Merger in 1998 with the Rabbitohs and OUR Rich and Powerful Juniors Club at Kingsford to bankroll them to add to that “Financial” section to their bid.
        Piggins and Morris knocked that on its head.

        Much of Souths Sponsorships were denied and excluded back then to the tune of $3M from our Juniors club yet the $6M to $10M being offered from other Clubs Leagues Clubs were accepted under the “Financial Section” of the Criteria.
        Souths were illegally dudded.

        Souths passed all sections of the Criterion!
        The Rorts failed on the Juniors section,
        They tried to do a Merger with Souths, Politis, Piggins and Kerry Packer were at that meeting!

        It was the Rorts with Politis and Carr from the Dragons who lobbied the hardest to have us removed.

        Politis wanted our Junior District and the Dragons being forced to Merge with Illawarra was our Number 1 Opposition in regards to Premiership Success and Popularity, they just couldn’t stand our success.

        After the Wests Tigers Merger, Souths were even more financial than them.

        • January 27th 2018 @ 7:02am
          Roostermark said | January 27th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

          I think it’s fair to say the Roosters would have been happy just to get the junior areas that were stolen from them decades earlier and gifted to South Sydney back..

      • January 13th 2018 @ 10:05am
        Gold Coast Bunny said | January 13th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Hi BA Sports. I note your point re crowds. Certainly not as good as some other Sydney clubs no doubt. Now if we were back in the 60’/70’s the key criteria for success probably was bums on seats at venues. Today however, and what you have not included in your consideration, is tv and digital presence. You ask where are all the fans who marched gone. Well we are all over Australia, buying memberships, watching our side on tv,reading about them online etc.

        So from a value point of view to the nrl, who rely on advertising dollars (not revenue from gate takings) the key component will be how many people will be viewing which sides via these platforms so they can sell the rights for increased values. This also allows clubs to sell their own jersey sponsorship to raise revenues.

        Roy Morgan released their research on the 2017 most supported clubs. In Sydney the eels headed the list with 447k. Next we’re two J/V clubs with two fan bases being Drangons and West Tigers. Souths were 4th on 391k, bulldogs on 355k and manly 327k. Roosters and Cronulla 224k and Penrith at 186k we’re bringing up the rear.

        So from a value to the competition point of view I would think that Souths are well ahead of other sides in Sydney who are likely to view sides via these platforms. But before you start using this as a reason why they can be moved as they will still retain the fan base who can watch via tv and digital platform I don’t believe it would as you will change the fabric of the foundation club. It will no longer be South Sydney to me and I watch NRL because of South Sydney.

      • January 14th 2018 @ 4:17pm
        Rod said | January 14th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

        Yeah hate to admit playing club games at ANZ is not a good look for the club or the game.

        There are two many teams in Sydney and too be frank . I would support a shift if it was in the best interests of the club. We have tremendous support on our away games, through out the country .

        In fact I feel we okay better away than we do at home.

    • January 12th 2018 @ 7:42am
      Nambawan said | January 12th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      It’s as clear as the nose on your face that playing home games at the Olympic Stadium has been a very significant negative for the code over several years. That applies to Souths, and also to Canterbury and the other clubs that are also becoming involved.

      I understand that Souths received financial inducements to play at Homebush, but surely there would have been longer term benefits by playing at the SFS which is in the middle of their traditional fan base.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 8:05am
        BA Sports said | January 12th 2018 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        Just randomly – 333 regular home games have been played at ANZ since 2002 (by Souths, Dogs, Parra, Tigers, Dragons etc). On average the home team scores 1.5 more points than the visitors at ANZ. Not a massive home ground advantage overall…

      • Roar Rookie

        January 13th 2018 @ 8:59am
        3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 13th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        Nambawan, you are only concentrating on average crowds

        The facts are that ANZ Stadium offered the Rabbitohs a Guaranteed Minimum Income to play there.
        In 2005 at the SFS Souths were on such a raw deal, so bad that we had to leave.
        The Rorts who at the same venue with smaller crowds than us were making 500% more income.
        How does that work?

        Their deal was so much better, the SCG Trust offered us harsh terms to play there.

        At a Souths home game, if you bought a Pie or a beer, all of the income was going to the trust.
        If you bought a Souths Jumper the profits were going to the trust.

        Souths went from a Net Income at the SFS of a lousy $36k for 10 games to a guaranteed minimum $600k per season.
        What would you do?

        ALL Clubs Crowds go down when they don’t do well.

        Last Season at the Souths HOME game against the Dogs in Rd23 where were all their fans?
        Reciprocal Rights yet they didn’t bother to turn up, they knew that they will get smashed and smashed they were to the tune of 28 to 14.

        It was the lowest Dogs Rabbitohs Crowd since the 60s, less than a thousand Dogs fans were there.
        Sure many Souths fans didn’t turn up either.

        • January 13th 2018 @ 11:00am
          Big Daddy said | January 13th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          South’s had the lowest home game average of all NRL club’s in 2017.
          Also note Canterbury v south’s april 14 2017.
          35000.
          I am not a Canterbury supporter

          • Roar Rookie

            January 13th 2018 @ 5:10pm
            3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 13th 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

            That Good Friday game was a Dogs home game where they profited and it added to their home ground figures.
            Souths also had 2 Thursday and 2 Friday 6 pm games
            the Game in Perth was pissing down and Barlow Park is a small suburban Ground.

            6 of our 12 games were severely limited for fans to turn up.
            2 other home games were inclement weather where less than 500 away fans turned up.

            In 2018 it is a Souths Home Game on Good Friday and we will get 40k fans turn up and will help OUR home crowd average.

            • January 15th 2018 @ 9:24am
              BA Sports said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

              Yes, Barlow is a small suburban ground in another state and yet more people went to that game than 6 Souths home games at ANZ and more than their home crowd average at ANZ in 2017 which was below 11k.

              They are supposed to be the pride of the league and their fans tell you they are the most well supported club and best fans in the country… but they don’t show up unless their team is winning, just like most clubs. Normal fan base, but club can’t play in their area. If you are going to relocate them out of South Sydney, why not relocate them out of Sydney and fix two problems?

              • Roar Guru

                January 15th 2018 @ 12:48pm
                The Barry said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                You’re missing the point. Souths poor home crowds are the fault of the away fans for not showing up.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 6:53pm
                Big Daddy said | January 15th 2018 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

                That match on april 14 where there were 35k they were all south’s supporters – just ask 3 lids.

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