Grant Chappell says “It’s been one of the best seasons I’ve witnessed by my beloved Rabbitohs.
Records have tumbled, most points in a season & most tries in a season. Personal milestones achieved, Reyno broke Eric Simms record for the most goals and points in the club’s history. Codys 44 line break assists are the most since stats were recorded.
We were told by experts that if you concede 50 points in a game you can’t win the grand final well, we conceded 50 twice in round 9 and 11 but I never stopped believing. In round 24 we lost our star fullback Latrell Mitchell to suspension and again the experts told us Souths couldn’t win it.
But yet I still believed.
Some great storyline’s to follow in grand final week are:
Blake Taaffe the kid from La Perouse who grew up supporting the Rabbits because his dad Darren played lower grades for them and his uncle Brad captained Souths reserve grade in the early 2000’s.
In the dressing rooms after the 54-12 thrashing of the Evil Empire when it was clear Latrells season was over, coach Wayne Bennett sat next to Blake in the dressing rooms and put his arm around him and said ‘are you ready to win a grand final with me’ to which Blake replied ‘I sure am coach.’ The seven game rookie has played well beyond his years and finds himself as a starting fullback in the Grand Final of 2021.
Left winger Alex Johnson equalled a 67 year old record set by Les Brennen in 1954 with 29 tries & he has a chance to break that record on Grand Final day.
Campbell Graham, the powerful defensive centre has been outstanding in our two semi-final wins. His defence has been a feature of our success and he was a big reason why we lost the prelim last year when he pulled out in the captains run due to an abdominal injury.
Action Jaxson Paulo became our right winger in a position that has been troublesome for the Rabbitohs with no less than four players filling that role this season. The 21-year-old from Takapuna New Zealand is developing his game every week, scoring a double on the weekend including a stunning four pointer that’s been dubbed ’the moon walk try’.
Cody Walker has become a huge voice in this famous club. Make no mistake this is his team & when he wants the ball, he gets it. Regarded as one of the best natural ball players the game has seen in the last 25 years.
Mark ‘the goat’ Nicholls has become a fan favourite, a player who started the first 98 games of his career from the bench is now a solid starting prop and in a Grand Final.
Damien Cook was questioned by a journalist this week about his form in his past couple of prelims has now answered the critics. He was outstanding against Manly on the weekend setting up a try for Cody Walker with a deft left foot kick.
Junior Tatola was shown the door at the end of 2017 at the West Tigers to not only find a home at the Rabbits but to become an extremely important member of this underrated forward pack.
The Mascot boys Cam and Keaon won 10 grand finals as Mascot Juniors were both members of the South Maroubra Surf club competing in the Nippers every weekend, now get to go arm in arm out to their first Grand Final in the NRL together.
Tom Burgess gets to step out of the shadows of his three brothers, he has embraced his role off the bench in the back end of the season and looks to be in career-best form.
The Qantas (Jacob) Hosty was unwanted by the Dragons so he came to Souths on a wing and a prayer. Prior to this season he had never played finals football but now he’s in the Grand Final.
Jai Arrow, one of the toughest men in the game left the Gold Coast in search of finals football. His gamble has paid off.
Sunday will be the final game for four South Sydney players. Jaydn Sua, who is part of the bash brothers with Keaon Koloamatangi. At one stage he couldn’t make the 17 but he has now fought his way back into the team.
Dane Gagai has been such a strong leader in this team, any time there’s a half scuffle he’s in there sticking up for his teammate’s. He’s the sort of player you would love to play with.
Rugby league legend Benji Marshall was also unwanted at the West Tigers, so he gave Wayne Bennett a call in January. Wayne didn’t hesitate and put him straight on the bench for round one against Melbourne.
Captain courageous Adam Reynolds made the toughest decision of his career to head north to Brisbane in season 2022. He will follow in the footsteps of his good mate John Sutton to be the second Souths Junior to captain Souths to a premiership winning team since the 1930’s.
Let’s not forget the master coach Wayne Bennett who finds himself in his 10th grand final. Wayne is unsigned by anyone for season 2022 so this could be his final season as head coach and there’s nobody in the world that we would want to lead our team other than King Wayne. Wayne has so many proud achievements in his career, but this just might top them all. Keep believing.”
Darren Brown says “Sunday’s grand final between the Rabbitohs and the Panthers will be a special day for me having played for and captained both clubs.
I was fortunate to play 65 games for the Penrith club between 1994-98 and played alongside club greats John Cartwright, Greg Alexander, Brad Fittler, Mark Geyer, Craig Gower to name a few.
I really enjoyed my 4 years at Penrith however their opposition on Sunday, the Rabbitohs is where my heart and loyalty lies.
Born and raised 100m from Redfern Oval and having played my junior footy in the South Sydney area, it was my dream to play for the Rabbitohs. That dream came true, I went on to play 70 games & score 18 tries for this famous club.
Come 7.30pm on Sunday night my red and green blood will be pumping hoping that my beloved Rabbitohs can overcome the Panthers to win our 22nd premiership.”
Steve Mavin says “We waited 43 years to finally break our premiership drought in 2014 & that is a day I’ll never forget.
Making the 2021 Grand Final means that it’s only the third time the Bunnies have done so in the last 50 years after we rolled the Dragons in 1971. That is a long time between drinks, so Sunday’s game is a monumental occasion to say the least.
I plan to enjoy this Grand Final week & soak up the atmosphere that this team has created for our famous club & its supporters. Just being in the decider is special so win or lose it’s a time to enjoy the moment & reflect on how far we’ve come from where we once were.
It’s a shame that due to Covid-19 I won’t be able to watch the game live at the ground & cheer my team to victory but I’ve already ticked that incredible experience off my bucket list so no dramas whatsoever there.
I believe we can win it & I predict that more shots at the title lie within years not decades. Let’s go Rabbitohs!”