The Rabbitohs held their season launch tonight at Randwick Racecourse.
Our Fabulous ’14 series pays tribute to the Rabbitohs 2014 premiership winning team. Today we feature our sensational number 7 Adam Reynolds.
Reyno played 26 games at halfback in the 2014 season scoring seven tries, kicking 95 goals & three field goals.
In a 29-10 round 12 victory over the Dragons at Stadium Australia, Reyno scored a try, kicked 3 goals & slotted a field goal.
Reynos goal kicking success rate for the 2014 season was 79.17%. In simple terms this means that Adam kicked close to 8 out of every 10 goals he attempted all year.
The Rabbitohs defeated the Bulldogs 30-6 in the grand final. Adam Reynolds scored a try & kicked 5 goals.
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
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
24 year old Jordan Mailata has come a long way.
15874km to be precise from Redfern Oval in South Sydney Australia to Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia USA.
“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.”
After seeing clips of him playing rugby league, NFL executives invited Mailata to try out for their International Player Pathway Program.
So Jordan took off to the USA to try & make it in the NFL.
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.
49ers left tackle Trent Williams earns $23,010,000 per year.
Mailata has won the coveted starting left tackle role protecting quarterback Jalen Hurts blindside. Jordans’ job is to make sure Hurts doesn’t get hurt.
In another unbelievable twist he beat 2019 No.1 draft pick (22nd overall) Andre Dillard for the job.
In the 2018 draft Mailata was taken 233rd overall.
This sensational turn of events just highlights Mailatas massive achievement.
Dillard went to college at powerhouse football school Washington State. He started 29 games at left tackle for the Washington State Cougars who compete in the top level NCAA Division 1.
Around the same time Jordan Mailata was playing under 20s rugby league for the Bunnies in Sydney & had never played a second of American football.
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.
By Steve Mavin
We had a great Zoom chat to Rabbitoh #1164 Jacob Host today.
We covered a lot of ground with Jabob but two highlights were quotes he recalled from Wayne Bennett – “It’s better to be disappointed that regretful” & “An original is better than a copy”.
Please enjoy our Rabbitohs TV interview & please subscribe.
By Steve Mavin
In the words of the great Michael Maguire WTF!
Last nights win feels like a loss.
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.
Tonight Adam Reynolds broke Eric Simms all time Rabbitohs point scoring record, surging past the 1841 mark kicking 8 from 9.
Reyno also now sits 10th with 1850pts in the overall scoring record in Australian rugby league history.
Congrats to our legendary leader! #AdamReynolds