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The Roar



Why desperate Rabbitohs need to adopt NRL's version of Bazball - it's a guaranteed win-win situation

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27th March, 2024
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“Desperate times call for desperate measures”. It’s a quote often attributed to Hippocrates, the Greek physician, yet it also succinctly sums up the situation the South Sydney Rabbitohs find themselves in after the opening three rounds of the NRL.

Sitting last on the ladder with no wins, and an horrific for and against of -64, the hands of Bunnies management must surely be hovering over the proverbial panic button.

Which naturally begs the question, what would happen if said button was pressed?

One route Souths should possibly explore is to take a leaf out of the book of the English men’s Test cricket team and adopt their famously infamous ‘Bazball’ strategy.

For the uninitiated, ‘Bazball’ is the nickname given to England’s approach of ultra-aggressive batting at all times, irrespective of the game situation … and of England’s actual talent.

It has certainly provided Test cricket with lots of entertainment, via a mix of audacious stroke-play, and utterly brainless decision-making.

‘Bazball’ comes from the nickname of England’s coach, New Zealander Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum, who has brain-washed – er, I mean encouraged – his team to play without any fear of failure, and to not worry about such inconsequential things like the scoreboard or results.


Recklessly throwing the ball around and attacking at every opportunity is potentially not the worst strategy for the Rabbitohs to try on the field. Considering what else they have attempted – and failed – it’s certainly worth a shot.

Yet it’s less the tactics of Bazball that Souths should implement, and more the pompous lack of accountability which should become their mantra.

The benefits are endless, and when you begin to list them out, you realise that Bazball might truly be the genius level of thinking that England, especially their skipper Ben Stokes, attempts to not-so-subtly position it as.

The first and most obvious benefit is that any loss can immediately be reframed as a “moral victory”.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Cameron Murray of the Rabbitohs talks to team mates during the round three NRL match between Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium, on March 22, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cameron Murray talks his teammates at Allianz Stadium. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It’s a move torn straight from Donald’s Trump’s playbook, where not accepting the result throws all sensible people completely off kilter. This supremely cunning moving of the goalposts – fairly apt for football – ensures you simply can’t lose.

It’s the truest interpretation of the phrase ‘win-win’, and therefore a very savvy option for a team that hasn’t actually won a game yet after three attempts.


Furthermore, when an opponent does get the better of you on that increasingly outdated metric of success – the scoreboard – you can even take credit it for it, by boldly suggesting they were inspired by you and your style of playing.

This is an extremely clever way of taking ownership of a victory … even when victory was not yours.

In fact, why limit yourself to the game just finished (and lost), when Bazball enables you to be about something much bigger: the sport itself. You can wax lyrical about how your approach is saving the game and putting bums on seats and eyeballs on TV.

This belief makes intuitive sense too. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch their footy club play the new ‘Bazball team’? It’s almost a guaranteed win.

Another advantage of Bazball is the licence it affords you to is shrug off bad performances by saying you’re concentrating on the process, not the result. Again, this is a fantastic way to avoid any responsibility for losing.

Yet it also comes with the added benefit of allowing you to pretentiously respond to media questions about the loss in a manner that suggests the poor, dumb, simple, archaic sports journalists just don’t ‘get it’, as your approach is too advanced and cerebral for them.


One of the numbers that should make Souths players incredibly keen to be a part of a Bazball revolution is the number ‘one’. That’s the total amount of batters that have been dropped in the Bazball era, solidifying the notion that there really is no consequences to the adoption of a crazy-aggressive strategy. Lachlan Ilias is reportedly keen to hear more about this approach.

Lastly, when it comes to video referees, much like DRS, if ‘The Bunker’ decision doesn’t suit you, you can whinge about technology and say the sport should “get rid of it”, while conversely, saying absolutely nothing when the outcome helps you.

So, in summary: you can’t lose games, you can take credit for your opponent’s brilliant performances, you can claim you’re growing the sport, you can arrogantly dismiss journalists’ questions and criticism, you can’t get dropped/sacked, whilst you can also pick and choose when you support video technology.

Wow, Bazball really is the ultimate ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for South Sydney’s coach and players.

With Jason Demetriou on the hot seat and clearly needing to do something radical, he’d be as silly as Bazball itself if he didn’t embrace footy’s version of it.


Heck, he could even rebrand it ‘Bunniezball’.