A Paddington junior, Bryan Fletcher was graded by the Roosters in 1997 – just two years before he made his Test debut. Fletcher was a shock selection in Australia’s ANZAC Test in 1999, having played in just 24 first grade games, and despite NZ’s 24-22 win he more than held his own in the second row. That year he played in the first of three straight State of Origin series and extended his Test career at the end of the year with three appearances in Australia’s Tri-series win against NZ and Great Britain. 2000 was a great season for the talented ball-player – representing Australia in the 52-0 thrashing of NZ in the ANZAC Test, taking part in NSW’s whitewash of the Maroons, posting a further Test appearance against Papua New Guinea in a World Cup warm-up, and finally, enjoying World Cup glory in England. The only sour note for the year was the Roosters’ loss to Brisbane in the grand final but Fletcher had established an integral place in the Australian forward pack. In 2001, despite NSW loss to Queensland in State of Origin and a drop in form by the Roosters, Fletcher played in the one-off Test against NZ in July before a wrist injury ruled him out of the Kangaroo Tour at the end of the year. 2002 brought Fletcher grand final victory but by the time the Roosters defeated the Warriors he had already agreed to go to Souths as captain in 2003. Despite the fact that the club struggled for much of the year he was again called up to the NSW team and represented Australia in the 48-6 thrashing of NZ in July before announcing his retirement from rep football. Fletcher left Souths in 2005 to join Wigan in the English Super League.
– ALAN WHITICKER
In our big finals episode 9 Showdown At The SCG we have an interesting chat to former Souths captain Bryan Fletcher. Fletch tells us some stories about life growing up as Souths fan in Bondi & he talks about his time with the Bunnies including playing alongside Adam ‘Mad-Dog’ McDougall & a young John Sutton. We also speak to Souths assistant coach & recruitment manager Ben Rogers & he gives us an insight into some future Rabbitohs stars. We also preview the big showdown at the SCG against the arch enemy Roosters.