The official South Sydney Rabbitohs Podcast. Grant ‘Chaps’ Chappell & former players Steve Mavin & Darren Brown dig deep into all things South Sydney & interview special guests each week. Please subscribe to our Rabbitohs TV YouTube channel.
It’s Thursday the 16th of September 2021 & there’s 3 huge online events occurring today. Thanks to the beauty of technology you can take part in 1, 2 or all 3!
The first live event is a special edition of our weekly ‘Suttos Say’ segment.
This afternoon from 3.30pm will be the first live edition of Suttos Say allowing you to interact with our 2014 Grand Final winning captain.
Prize winner Keiran Macklin will be joining us too after he subscribed by email to our website & was drawn out at random on our ‘Team List Tuesday’ show.
During the show today in the live chat section you can show your appreciation & make your comment stand out by purchasing YouTube’s Super Chat & Super Stickers. Prices start at $2 & range up to $50 or more. This is a good way to help out the team at Rabbitohs TV and an even better way to interact with us.
We give everyone a live shoutout that sends us a Super Chat or Super Sticker on the show & today you can ask John Sutton a question that he will respond to using this new feature.
Click HERE to visit Rabbitohs TV & join us from 3.30pm.
Events 2 & 3 both take place at the same time but this won’t prevent you from taking part in both simultaneously, here’s why.
Adam Reynolds home auction brought to you by NG Farah Real Estate is taking place via Zoom from 6.30pm & The Juniors Jumbo Online Raffle is also on at 6.30pm. Tickets for the online raffle can be pre purchased with no need to actually watch the live draw so this will allow you to get involved with both events at the same time.
We promoted the sale of our departing club captains home this week in an article comparing it to Graceland, the famous dwelling of the one & only Elvis. This is a rare opportunity for a Souths fans to buy & live in the home of a Rabbitohs legend.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are pleased to announce their NRL squad for their Qualifying Final against the Penrith Panthers to be played this Saturday 11 September at 7:50pm at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Rabbitohs Head Coach Wayne Bennett has made nine changes to the Rabbitohs’ top 17 that defeated the Dragons in the final round of the regular season last weekend.
Jaydn Su’A will play his 50th NRL game in South Sydney colours this Saturday night having made his club debut against the Sea Eagles in round 17, 2019.
Keaon Koloamatangi makes a welcome return from suspension to the 2nd row, Blake Taaffe keeps the fullback spot & Jaxson Paulo retains the right wing position.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NRL squad for Saturday’s clash with the Panthers is: 1 Blake Taaffe 2 Alex Johnston 3 Dane Gagai 4 Campbell Graham 5 Jaxson Paulo 6 Cody Walker 7 Adam Reynolds (c) 8 Mark Nicholls 9 Damien Cook 10 Junior Tatola 11 Keaon Koloamatangi 12 Jaydn Su’A 13 Cameron Murray Interchange: 14 Benji Marshall 15 Jacob Host 16 Thomas Burgess 17 Jai Arrow 18 Jed Cartwright 19 Braidon Burns 20 Lachlan Ilias 21 Patrick Mago Head Coach – Wayne Bennett
“Good team, mobile forwards.” Grant Chappell
“I like Su’A he’s aggressive in defence, put some hits on. Our defence will win this game.” Darren Brown
Our spine is the key here, if Cookie, Reyno, Cody & Taaffy have big games we win.” Steve Mavin
“This is one of the great Australian sport stories.”
“When he arrived at the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2017 Mailata was 6 foot eight and 166 kg but got his weight down to 140kg to play in the NYC (National Youth Competition).”
“When I first saw him I couldn’t believe how big he was” says club legend John Sutton.
“I had to go & get Sam (Burgess) to come & have a look, he was massive.”
Like the majority of Aussies, Mailata knew next to nothing about the NFL having previously only “watched a few games & some highlights.”
To Jordan Mailata the NFL was just one “big mystery” as he put it.
Mailata played rugby league for the Bankstown Bulls in Sydney as a young bloke & his major opposition in that competition came from a Mascot side coached by my cost host on Rabbitohs Radio Darren Brown.
“Our champion Mascot team had my son Jaiden & talented players like Siosifa Talakai, Reimis Smith & Billy Magoulias who have all gone on to play in the NRL but back then Jordan was a damaging runner of the ball, hard to tackle & always the biggest bloke on the field.”
Mailatas’ playing contract at the Rabbitohs was $12k & a new offer was on the table.
Ultimately, Mailata declined the contract from the Rabbitohs. There was no bad sentiment between Mailata and the club after the contract offer, as Mailata stated “They gave me a chance so without them I wouldn’t be here.”
Mailata landed in an intensive training program at the IMG Academy learning off people like offensive line coach Paul Dunn (yes same name as the Bulldogs legend).
Mailatas’ progress impressed team scouts across the USA with his amazing agility for a man his size & there was interest from Washington, Pittsburg & others but it was still somewhat of a long shot when the Philadelphia Eagles traded up in the 7th round of 2018 NFL draft to pick him.
In around 100 years of NFL drafts no foreign player with zero experience had ever been drafted.
The Eagles did exactly that & to add an extra layer of intrigue he was selected to play in the specialist position at left tackle made famous around the world by the movie ‘The Blind Side’ which tells the Michael Oher story.
That movie was the only other experience with the NFL that Jordan Mailata could recall & incredibly there is a similarity in both Oher & Mailatas’ journey to American footballs biggest stage.
Michael Oher famously rose from poverty to play left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens with the help of Leigh Anne Tuohy & her family. (Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for the role.)
Jordan Mailata collapsed twice at training as a 17 year old & it was discovered that he needed two heart operations.
The chances of a young Michael & Jordan making an NFL team 53 man roster then gaining a starting spot were extremely remote, almost zero..but they did it. (yes I did just use the words Michael & Jordan in this paragraph.)
In 2018 before the NFL draft Jordan Mailata said “Even though this (game) is all foreign to me I will catch up. I didn’t come to take part man, I come to take over.”
His contract now is worth $1.2 million but a major upgrade is on the way with the highest paid players in the position earning over $20 million per annum.
My mate Paul Rigoni has been to Philly & loves the place. He said –
“Don’t forget to mention in your story that Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love & the great fighting city of working class people like South Sydney.”
“I know everything about Philly!! So much American history there. It’s where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Philly was the original capital of the US not New York before Washington DC was built.”
“Philly is an awesome city where people love their sport, both teams (Phillies & Eagles) previously played at the old Veterans Stadium in south Philly but it was a really bad area lots of crime so they basically redeveloped the whole area & built three new Stadiums.” (South Philadelphia Sports Complex).
“It’s a bit like Homebush now but it’s only two minutes from the Philadelphia CBD with just two train stops.”
“Jordan could be mates with the Aussie Ben Simmons because he plays for the 76s.”
Mailata made his NFL debut in the 2020 season & if the Eagles start winning games when the 2021 season starts next week, I’m pretty sure that Jordan Mailata will have no shortage of mates in his new home town.
The morning after putting 50 on the Roosters is usually a cause for celebration because a Rabbitohs win plus a Chooks loss always equals a great weekend. Especially when both those results happen in the same match.
Today however feels more like a wake because Latrell Mitchell has been charged with a grade two reckless high tackle charge. The base penalty is 500 points however with loading from four previous non-similar offences in the last two years, Mitchell will be suspended for six matches (675 points) with an early guilty plea, or he could miss nine matches (900 points) if he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses.
Friday night football was humming along nicely for the Bunnies, they were scoring great tries & defending like demons until Joey Manu made a break on the right side of the field & collided with the Taree Ferrari.
No one wants to see a player seriously injured like that & I hope Joey is ok. As much as I love to hate the Roosters I do admire Manu as a player, he’s a champion footballer & I wish he played for us & not them.
This Latrell incident will be examined forensically for the rest of the season but for what it’s worth I don’t believe Latrell intended to harm his former teammate Joey like he did.
Rugby league is a collision sport & unfortunately serious injuries like this happen. Personally I prefer a fullback that puts his body on the line like his life depends on it to save a try rather that just making a half hearted attempt to halt the oppositions advances.
I asked my Rabbitoh Radio co host Grant ‘Chaps’ Chappell for his thoughts & he said he agrees with Gus Gould & Joey Johns opinions that there was no intent.
“I’ve looked at it frame by frame & Joeys head drops about a foot & the contact was a result of that. There were mitigating circumstances so if it can’t be proven Latrell had intent the Rabbitohs might get him back this year.”
“If it goes the other way then Latrell Mitchells’ season will be over”.
Forever the optimist Chaps continued…
“I still believe we can beat Penrith in week 1 of the finals. Blake Taaffe is ready to fill the void & may even cover the ground & field the bombs better that Latrell could.”
We interviewed Blake Taaffe on Rabbitohs Radio & he told us that he grew up playing fullback. This is his preferred position & during his brief appearances in the top grade this year we did see evidence that he can handle the role & even excel.
The bottom line is that Latrell Mitchells’ shoulder came into heavy contact with Joey Manus’ face, sending him to hospital with a shattered cheek & ending his season.
Due to the fact Latrell has already found himself suspended this year even if an appeal is successful I doubt the judiciary will decide any form of penalty that will save Latrells’ season.
I also spoke to my other co host Darren Brown & his thoughts were..
“1st and foremost I don’t agree with the incident that occurred on Manu and I feel for him and understand his frustrations.
Latrell definitely plays the game with aggression and on the edge, something you want from your players and teammates.
When you play like that plus the speed of the game there is no room for error and on occasions you will find yourself in strife with the officials and the judiciary.
Last night’s incident was a perfect example, a tackle that went wrong in many ways.
I’m all for the new rules and penalties regarding contact to the head and the NRL have certainly come along way from the day’s when that tackle wouldn’t have even warranted a penalty.
In my opinion I don’t think Latrell went into the game to intentionally hurt Manu, however the rule states if you come into contact with the head of a player whether it be intentional or not you will be penalised and Latrell will definitely pay the price for the incident.
I’m sure Latrell isn’t happy with the actions that happened however he’ll be back bigger and better.
He isn’t the 1st player to miss big games due to suspension and he certainly won’t be the last.
I’ll be looking forward to when Latrell Mitchell dons the red and green again.”
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will march on into the finals. Once that happens anything can happen perhaps even premiership number 22!
By Steve Mavin
In other news Liam Knight & Dane Gagai also been charged.
Knight has been charged with a grade three dangerous contact – other charge which has a base penalty of 300 points. However, loading from one previous non-similar offence in the last two years will see Knight being suspended for two matches (270 points) with an early guilty plea, or he could miss three matches (360 points) if he opts to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses.
Gagai has been charged with a grade one contrary conduct charge. The base penalty for this type of charge is a $1500 fine however with loading from two previous non-similar offences in the last two years, Gagai will be fined $1600 with an early guilty plea, or he will be fined $2100 if he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses.
Colin Whelan was a rugby league photographer for 34 years. He’s also an author, traveller and brilliant story-teller. Steve Mavin, co-host of the Rabbitohs Radio Podcast, so enjoyed listening to Col’s yarns on the show that he wrote up a yarn so good it needs three parts. This is the first one. It begins with Whelan hitch-hiking across Australia, ends with a favour from “Break Even” Bill Mordey. Enjoy the ride.
During my career playing for the Rabbitohs in the late 80s and early 90s, Col Whelan was always on the sideline taking pictures.
Although I’d say hello we never really got to know each other, and it’s only since he joined our Facebook group Rabbitohs Radio Podcast Listeners that we began to regularly communicate.
Col has also graciously shared many old Souths images from his lifetime behind the lens, and we’ve been lapping up the interesting commentary it generates.
The Rabbitohs Radio Podcast team – Grant Chappell, Darren Brown and myself – interviewed Col in our studio in June. As soon as our chat began we knew it was going to be a great one.
And while it’s very hard to do justice to telling the stories of a master story-teller, I’m going to have a crack.
Colin Whelan was born in Sydney in 1951 but grew up without rugby league in Adelaide and then in Perth. In 1963 the Whelan family moved back to Sydney, lived in Kensington and Col enrolled at Sydney Boys High where in 1964 he discovered rugby and rugby league.
Col started hitching from an early age after being inspired by Jack Kerouac‘s On The Road. Aged 13, to honour a bet with a mate, Col stuck out his thumb to see if he could hitch rides from Sydney to Perth and back. He completed the feat in eleven days. He had his mother’s blessing.
The adventure instilled a love of travelling in Col and an appreciation for “the intimacy of the road”.
Les from La Perouse was Col’s first mate at school. Les had only one stipulation about their friendship: “You have to barrack for Souths”. So Col did and they remain good mates to this day.
The night before the famous 1965 grand final between the Dragons and Rabbitohs – the one that saw a record crowd of 78,056 cram into the SCG – Col and Les left school, walked across Moore Park in their uniforms, and slept behind the Brewongle Stand. In the morning the boys emerged undetected and watched the game. So the crowd figure should be 78,058!
Experiences like this, Whelan said, meant he was “bitten by the red and green monster, and there was no antidote.”
In 1969 Col became the first (and still only) Prefect to be expelled from Sydney Boys High because of his refusal to stop protesting against the war in Vietnam.
Col had begun drinking in pubs after school and became a regular at Jim Buckley’s Newcastle Hotel on George St, The Rocks. At this establishment he met several brilliant authors who would shape his life.
At the Newcastle Col met Donald Horne who’d written The Lucky Country in 1964, Germaine Greer whose breakout book The Female Eunuch came out in 1972, and Frank Hardy (below) whose Power Without Glory is one of the most infamous books in Australian history.
Col was taken under Frank’s wing and learned the etiquette of pubs; about drinking and of shouting. He learned about telling yarns. He learned the difference between telling stories and sharing them. He learned to listen.
Col went to work at the Commodore Tavern in North Sydney which he described as “a working-class pub that was very rough”.
One day George the publican asked Col to check what was blocking the toilet. Col discovered a Beretta pistol was hidden in the pull-chain cistern. George told Col to leave it there. A few days later it was gone, no-one the wiser about its owner.
The highlight of Col’s working week was when the beer truck arrived each Thursday with Paul Sait and Ron Coote delivering the amber fluid.
“I’d see two of my heroes and they were just normal blokes, real down-to-earth guys,” Whelan said. “I was working once a week with my idols, the guys I’d watch play on the weekend.”
Col went to Macquarie University from 1970-72 and played rugby union. When he left he hitchhiked (of course) from Burma (now Thailand) to Copenhagen in Sweden, a trip which took him across Afghanistan and other places now off limits.
He hitchhiked to North Africa and the Middle East. He followed the Grateful Dead’s tour of Europe and developed a love of opium and hashish. He spent five months working on an opium farm in Turkey and six months on a hashish plantation in Lebanon’s Beka’a Valley.
He was briefly held by the Syrian secret police for photographing where he shouldn’t have been. He headed to Jordan and Israel. He worked with Bedouins. He lived on a kibbutz in the Negev desert.
In 1976 Col returned home to Sydney with an Israeli woman, Naomi, who became his wife and the mother of their twins, a boy Jesse and daughter Natalie who were born in 1988 through IVF.
And he wondered what to do.
“I came home and thought what do I want to do?” Whelan said. “I had an interest in football and photography so I started teaching myself how to take photos.
“I started snapping pics at rugby games but at first I was terrible. So I would just give my photos away to players. There was no money in it.”
One day a phone call came from Gary Pearse that would change Col’s life. Pearse, a former Wallabies backrower, worked in marketing for Winfield, needed a photographer for the company’s new Winfield Cup sponsorship. After seeing Col’s action shots, a job offer came from John Quayle at the NSWRL followed by an opportunity at Big League Magazine thanks to “Break Even” Bill Mordey.
And a super sports snapper was born.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in which we talk to Col about his adventures as an NRL photographer, and Part 3 in which we talk about his cracking book about bush pubs. You can follow Col Whelan on Facebook at Nothing But The Pub or email him to say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday 26th June 2020 an image was posted in our newly created Facebook group ‘Rabbitohs Radio Podcast Listeners’ by legendary photographer Col Whelan.
Beneath the photo Col asked the question “Any idea who these blokes are”?
The next day we had our answer thanks to Chris Isouard. In the picture stood three Rabbitohs legends Albert Clift, George Treweek & Eddie Root.
“Albert mentioned this day in a couple of his interviews over the years” said Chris. “Treweek and Root visited him in the early 80s and presented him with some of their playing memorabilia. Like many, Albert was a hero of mine and inspired me as a kid to collect everything Souths”.
Albert Clift was a former player for South Sydney, former official and director, was the Club’s first mascot back in 1968, held an amazing collection of Rabbitohs memorabilia including the famed timekeeper’s bell from the first game in 1908 & is a Life Member of the Football Club.
Eddie Root (first grade player #139) 109 games & 34 tries was a starting forward in the Rabbitohs golden era of 7 premiership wins between 1925-32. Root had a brilliant career & is rightly regarded as one of the greatest ever Rabbitohs.
The 1931 Rabbitohs
The 1931 South Sydney Rabbitohs defeated the Eastern Suburbs Roosters 12-7 in the NSWRL grand final. Eddie Root was the hooker & George Treweek played second row.
George Treweek (first grade player #153) 119 games & 40 tries was a starting forward in the Rabbitohs golden era of 7 premiership wins between 1925-32. He is a legendary attacking player who was rated as the finest second row forward the game has produced.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs broke their 3 game losing streak on Saturday afternoon 13th June 2020 at Bankwest Stadium, Sydney with a 32-12 victory over the Gold Coast Titans.
This victory song has traditionally been sung by the team for decades dating back to the Bunnies glory days. We can’t give you the exact date it began to be used but perhaps there’s a Bunnies historian reading this now that could enlighten us. Mavo & Browny love singing the tune because it brings back memories of wins with their mates.
The songs lyrics are-
“Now that we’re all around the bar And the captains declared it a quorum We’re drinking our way through the night And we’re having the time of our lives Throw the empties away start again, start again For the boys of South of South Sydney are together And we’ll drink til the dawn breaks again May the sessions of South Sydney last forever Up the Rabbitohs!”