A South Sydney Rabbitohs fan channel. 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. We are an independent show and not affiliated with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
By Steve Mavin and Grant Chappell reporting from Ironmark High Performance Centre, Redfern this morning.
Rabbitohs rookie number seven Lachlan Ilias didn’t train today at the captains run with Dean Hawkins filling in at half back. Taane Milne was wearing the back top 17 shirt so may be a late inclusion as well.
Thomas Burgess has a groin strain and won’t play this Friday against the Eels but Hame Sele makes his return to the team.
The Bunnies take on the Eels in round 22 on Friday night in yet another important game for the clubs top 4 hopes.
Parramatta sit just one win ahead of Souths in 5th position on the NRL ladder but the team in blue and gold have a plus 54 point differential compared to our plus 108 so a win will see us leap frog them into 5th position and help our chances of an all important final 4 finish to the regular season.
Adding to the intrigue of this weekend are 2 other big clashes that could help our cause. The Panthers meet the 4th placed Storm on Thursday night and the Cowboys meet the Roosters, all top 8 clashes.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are pleased to announce their NRL squad for round 22 against the Eels at CommBank Stadium to be played this Friday 12 August at 7:55pm.
Rabbitohs Head Coach Jason Demetriou has named Hame Sele to return from injury in the front row with Daniel Suluka Fifita shifting to the extended interchange bench.
The Rabbitohs NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg Cup teams will take on the Parramatta Eels in round 22. The NSW Cup game will be a curtain raiser to the NRL fixture at CommBank Stadium on Friday 12 August at 5:30pm, with the Jersey Flegg Cup match commencing at 3pm on Saturday 13 August at Ringrose Park.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NRL squad for Friday’s round 22 clash with the Eels is: 1) Latrell Mitchell 2) Alex Johnston 3) Jaxson Paulo 4) Isaiah Tass 5) Izaac Thompson 6) Cody Walker 7) Lachlan Ilias 8) Junior Tatola 9) Damien Cook 10) Hame Sele 11) Keaon Koloamatangi 12) Jai Arrow 13) Cameron Murray (c) Interchange: 14) Blake Taaffe 15) Mark Nicholls 16) Siliva Havili 17) Davvy Moale 18) Taane Milne 19) Dean Hawkins 20) Daniel Suluka Fifita 21) Shaquai Mitchell 22) Josh Mansour Head Coach – Jason Demetriou
The Rabbitohs NSW Cup squad for Friday’s match up with the Eels is: 1) Jacob Gagai (c) 2) Josh Mansour 3) Jake Tago 4) Richie Kennar 5) Cody Hodge 6) Jack Campagnolo 7) Dean Hawkins 8) Hugo Patterson 9) Peter Mamouzelos 10) Shaquai Mitchell 11) Maila Chanfoon 12) Ben Lovett 13) Trent Peoples Interchange: 14) Shannon Gardiner 15) Tyson Hodge 16) D’Arcy Hardman 17) Yileen Gordon 18) Tristan Alvarado Coach – Dane Dorahy
The Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg Cup squad for Saturday’s game against the Eels is: 1) Tyrone Munro 2) Wesley Bruines 3) Leon Te Hau 4) Lachoneus Paki 5) Deijion Leugaimafa 6) Dion Teaupa 7) Mitchell Chester 8) Thomas Giles (c) 9) Romano Cook 10) Isaiah Vailalo 11) Taine Woodford 12) Dranza Hawe-De-Thierry 13) Jaxson Rahme Interchange: 14) Keahlan Bray 15) TJ Toevai 16) Lachlan Gale 17) Cecil Lahood 18) Trent Griffiths 19) Josh Rizk 20) William Abou Arrage Coach – Leon Latulipe
Of the 13 Rabbitohs players that took the field to start the game against the Warriors on Saturday, 12 of them ran for over 100 metres.
The only player who didn’t knock up a tonne was fullback Latrell Mitchell, his total was 66 metres. Latrell did however get an early shower with 18 minutes left on the clock after he scored 2 tries, 2 try assists, 2 line breaks, 3 tackle busts, 2 line break assists, 3 offloads and kicked 8 goals from 8 attempts for a total of 24 points in one of the greatest individual Rabbitohs performances of all time.
While the metres gained stat is usually a good indicator of solid performance, Latrells underwhelming total does not give a true indication of his domination of the opposition on ‘Super Saturday’.
It’s true that the Warriors can’t be considered quality opposition but the Rabbitohs still had to take advantage and ‘Trell Mit’ certainly did that.
Cameron Murray – Captain Courageous
Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray was simply sensational in the middle and the boys from across the ditch had no answer for his power running, exquisite ball play and rock solid defence.
At 3.07pm after Cam had just passed Lachlan Ilias the ball for the opening try Grant Chappell sent myself and Darren Brown a message that read “The Warriors can’t handle Murrays speed around the ruck”.
Minutes later Cam sliced through the Warriors pack to send Damien Cook over for a try then did it again gifting Junior Tatola his four pointer.
Chaps was right as usual and captain Cam had 3 try assists before the 17th minute of the game then produced 20 runs, 191 metres, a line break and 35 tackles with no misses.
Cams number one fan Browny was at the game and told us later that “Cam was outstanding”.
Lachlan Ilias – The Solid Seven
Lachy opened the scoring for his team and while the pass from Cam was a good one he still had a bit to do to get the ball over the stripe. This kid can beat defenders, digs into the line in attack to set up his teammates and has no fear in defence.
A big shot from Warriors hooker Freddy Lussick was an example of our rookie half backs courage in the face of often brutal defence to create space for his outside backs. Freddy was on a mission and played well making 42 tackles but Lachy had the last laugh with a try assist, 13 runs for 113 metres and a good kicking game.
Junior Tatola – Our JT
Besides being one the nicest blokes you will ever meet, Tevita ‘Junior’ Tatola is in career best form this season.
Scoring tries and running for 200 metres is becoming the norm for our starting prop and he just goes about his business with a determination that fans like me are absolutely loving. Bring on this tough run home to the finals, Junior is ready.
Alex Johnston – AJ All Day
With yet another try down the lethal left on Saturday AJ took his career total to a lofty 159 which moved him to equal 8th all time alongside Matt Sing and Hasem El Masri.
The next few legends in his sights on the list are ‘The Prince of Brookie’ Brett Stewart 7th 163 tries, Terry ‘Baa’ Lamb 6th 164 tries, Andrew ‘ET’ Ettingshausen 5th 164 tries on his way to the top spot of 212 held by Ken Irvine.
The way he’s going it’s entirely possible that AJ will be in the top 5 scorers by seasons end and the bookies would have him at shorts odds to finish as the games greatest try scorer before he hangs up the boots.
Izaac Thompson – A Try On Debut
After scoring 20 tries in 16 games in the NSW Cup I was expecting big Izaac to score on debut and he did just that, barging past Reece Walsh to score a tremendous try in the right corner.
An NRL debut is special, a try in that debut is a dream come true. Izaac also pulled off a magnificent try saving tackle on top of his 17 runs for 175 metres giving coach JD something to think about when Campbell Graham returns to the team.
A big try scoring body on the right wing is an appealing thought but I suspect that Jaxson Paulo might still be ahead of him in the pecking order…for now.
Jaxson did his job in the centres, took the tough carries and ran for over 100 metres.
Keaon Koloamatangi & Jai Arrow – That One Two Punch
Another 80 minute barnstorming performance on the right edge from our star Mascot junior.
Keaon is unstoppable at times and his try in the 21st minute where he just brushed off a one on one defender was pretty to watch. More and more of the same please mate.
Special mention to his back row partner Jai Arrow who also played 80 minutes and pumped out 12 runs for 105 metres and 36 tackles thank you very much.
The Keaon and Jai back row combo is the nuts and bolts of this forward pack, they both can play the whole game and their contribution is priceless.
Isaiah Tass – Metre Man
Isaiah went close to scoring on a couple of occasions on the left side and while he could have passed to AJ a few times, I like the fact that he backs himself when he sniffs a gap and takes them on.
19 runs for 188 metres in an NRL game gets a big tick from his coaches.
Damien Cook – Shake & Bake
A nice try from our rep hooker, is there a better sight than seeing Cookie darting in, around and past the opposition to score under the posts?
Our Blues star rake also had a try assist and helped himself to 12 runs for 141 metres, love your work mate.
Daniel Suluka Fifita – DSF YES
Big Dan the Matto Tiger junior was excellent again pounding out 15 runs for 135 metres and some bone jarring tackles.
DSF keeps improving and looks happy to be home.
Cody Walker – Run Free
17 runs for over 100 metres from your five eight is great production and it was good to see Cody in the clear cutting through the defence and playing a bit of footy. More magic moments to come, stay tuned.
Davvy Moale – Damaging
I’m a huge fan of big Davvy and his work off the bench was another step to becoming an essential forward in this team.
In limited minutes his 9 runs for 111 metres were impressive but his 43 post contact metres were most noticeable of all and were among the best of anyone on the field. Davvy is as strong as a bull and defences feel the strain when he runs the football.
The future looks bright for our young gun prop.
Blake Taaffe – Taaffey Touch
Taaffey had a real spring in his step when he got out there and looked dangerous every time he got the ball. That 14 spot may be his to lose now.
Mark Nicholls – The Goats Back
Nico gave his team another valuable contribution off the bench, churning through 11 runs for 139 metres on the way to ticking every box required from our bench forwards. Welcome back Nico!
Siliva Havili – Hope You’re Ok Liva
One of the stars of our season Liva was good again until what looked like a leg injury ended his day early. Hope your alright mate we need you healthy.
Today Souths showed they have the right formula to beat any team. Error-free football, offloading, backing up the ball carrier, completing our sets and rock-solid defence. That’s exactly what was on show today and the points were just flowing. And it was great to see our younger players shining today as well with strong, focused and mature performances. Souths were the strong favourites against the Warriors today, but I believe the level of intensity and efficiency they showed this afternoon would have beaten anyone.
It was an absolute try-fest for Souths (my four leg multi got up before halftime!) thanks to our superior field position and high completion rate. But what was also impressive were how many of our tries came from nothing. Thanks to our support play, we managed to find the line and get that scoreboard ticking over. A classic example of this was when Latrell picked up an offload about 15m out and his sheer strength and ability saw him crash over under the posts. Up to that point, Latrell had a quiet start to the game – he was biding his time at the back but when he decided to get involved it was just effortless. He threw the last pass before a try a few times today, scored two tries and his goal-kicking was also on point.
Special mention needs to go to Cam Murray who was in a class of his own today. He set up the first three tries, made more tackles than the rest of the forward pack put together and led by example in every possible way. A real captain’s knock. He is a dead-set machine! He had plenty company across the park with Jai Arrow and Junior Tatola again always close to the action with the ball and heavily involved in defence. In fact, it was a couple of Arrow offloads that led to tries.
And even when the scoreboard was ticking over Souths didn’t take their foot off the pedal. You could see the same intensity with the ball and in defence even when the game was well and truly won and there were just a few minutes to go. I was worried that history would repeat itself after Souths led 26-0 at halftime the last time we played the Warriors in Magic Round. That day we only managed to scrape home 32-30. There were no such worries today, Souths came out for the second half as if it was 0-0 and they were starting all over again.
Izaac Thompson made a fine debut on the wing today and was even rewarded with a try. He’s a big unit this kid and he showed he’s got the size and skill for first grade. Inside him, Isaiah Tass continues to improve week after week and today he was always finding space with the ball and making some great tackles and defusing the Warriors attack. Daniel Suluka-Fifita was also a brilliant starter taking over from the suspended Tom Burgess.
Oddly enough, despite having 59 per cent possession and dominant field position, Souths had more dropouts than the Warriors after we were tackled in our in-goal area. But I just want to state plain and simple here – I am NOT a fan of the short dropout. It’s a roll of the dice I’m not comfortable with. I preferred it when they roofed it 60m to keep the opposition away from our tryline. I don’t know why this has become a thing of late but I for one would prefer not to have the heart attack especially in a tight game.
And what’s with all the forward passes today. The worst one was when Latrell offloaded near our line after a kick. Just take the tackle and we get another five plays after that. There were also some passes in general play that the ref called forward. In a closer game this could prove costly. But overall it was an absolute pleasure to see Souths dominate a game like that. Easier on the arteries as well.
Next week we must aim up again like we did today we take on Parramatta who have found a bit of form. We seem to play well against the Eels and absolutely mauled them in the rain at Homebush in our last encounter a few weeks ago. This week, they are playing at home, so we need to be at our best to continue our march to the semi-finals. There’s something in the air and Souths appear to be in a positive frame of mind. We need that to continue plus we’ll be bolstered by the return of Campbell Graham as early as next week. Do we dare to dream of premiership glory?? Go big or go home I say. Let’s go Rabbitohs!!!
Special thanks to Kelly Brown for the images and videos from Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Today at 3pm the Rabbitohs take on the Warriors at Sunshine Coast Stadium in a game that the Bunnies simply must win.
Souths currently sit 8th on the NRL ladder with 24 competition points and a differential of +70 with just 4 rounds left before the finals after todays clash.
The teams we face in those last 4 games are all above us on the ladder – Eels (28pts +54), Panthers (36pts +294), Cowboys (30pts +208) and the ‘Evil Empire’ aka the Roosters (24pts +107) at the opening of the new Sydney Football Stadium. That is a tough run home and we will need to win a majority of those matches to ensure a finals berth.
Souths overall record against the Warriors is an even split with 19 wins and 19 losses from 38 games since 1995. In magic round earlier this year the Rabbits let a 26-6 halftime lead erode to just a 2 point 32-30 victory.
The Rabbitohs should beat the 13th placed Warriors (12pts -199) when you consider that we have won 11 games compared to their 5 wins but both teams are coming off losses. Souths went down in a golden point thriller 21-20 to the Sharks and the Warriors got the Storms season back on track with a 24-12 defeat.
The Kiwi team can’t make the finals but you can expect them to come out all guns blazing this arvo to salvage some pride from their season.
The Rabbitohs will need their big guns to return fire so look for Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker to lead us to victory on top of a big performance from our forwards.
The Bunnies will have loads of support when they take the field today with plenty of red & green locals like Russell Hansen plus we have Darren Brown and the Souths Players Association (SPA) boys in town for a 3 day event that included a function at the Duporth Tavern last night, the game today and the races tomorrow.
Josh Kemp, Michael Tasker and fellow Burrow members are also up north to represent the South Sydney army.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are pleased to announce their NRL squad for round 21 against the Warriors at Sunshine Coast Stadium to be played this Saturday 6 August at 3pm.
Rabbitohs Head Coach Jason Demetriou has named Taane Milne in the centres to replace the injured Jed Cartwright. Blake Taaffe has been named on the interchange bench to replace the injured Kodi Nikorima.
Mark Nicholls returns from injury to replace the suspended Thomas Burgess.
NSW Cup try scoring machine Izaac Thompson has been named 18th man.
The Rabbitohs return to Sunshine Coast Stadium in 2022 for the fourth time since 2019 having won all three previous matches at the ground including two wins against this week’s opponents from New Zealand.
Tickets are available for pre-purchase from http://www.ticketek.com.au or at the gate on game day if not sold out prior. The Rabbitohs vs Warriors NRL match day is proudly supported by Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism and Events Queensland.
The Rabbitohs NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg Cup teams will take on the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday 6 August with the Jersey Flegg Cup game commencing at 3pm and the NSW Cup fixture at 12:40pm.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NRL squad for Saturday’s round 21 clash with the Warriors is: 1) Latrell Mitchell 2) Alex Johnston 3) Taane Milne 4) Isaiah Tass 5) Jaxson Paulo 6) Cody Walker 7) Lachlan Ilias 8) Junior Tatola 9) Damien Cook 10) Daniel Suluka-Fifita 11) Keaon Koloamatangi 12) Jai Arrow 13) Cameron Murray (c) Interchange: 14) Blake Taaffe 15) Davvy Moale 16) Siliva Havili 17) Mark Nicholls 18) Izaac Thompson 19) Dean Hawkins 20) Richie Kennar 21) Shaquai Mitchell 22) Josh Mansour Head Coach – Jason Demetriou
The Rabbitohs NSW Cup squad for Saturday’s match up with the Raiders is: 1) Jacob Gagai (c) 2) Josh Mansour 3) Jake Tago 4) Richie Kennar 5) Cody Hodge 6) Jack Campagnolo 7) Dean Hawkins 8) Hugo Patterson 9) Shannon Gardiner 10) Shaquai Mitchell 11) Maila Chanfoon 12) Trent Peoples 13) James Hasson (c) Interchange: 14) Romano Cook 15) Tallis Duncan 16) Tyson Hodge 17) D’Arcy Hardman 18) Yileen Gordon 19) Nic Mougios Coach – Dane Dorahy
The Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg Cup squad for Saturday’s game against the Raiders is: 1) Tyrone Munro 2) Carson Kaho 3) Zane Bijorac 4) Wesley Bruines 5) Deijion Leugaimafa 6) Dion Teaupa 7) Mitchell Chester 8) Thomas Giles (c) 9) Keahlan Bray 10) Louis Grossemy 11) Taine Woodford 12) Cruise Tweedie 13) Jaxson Rahme Interchange: 14) Dylan Williams 15) Isaiah Vailalo 16) Lachlan Gale 17) Dranza Hawe-De-Thierry 18) Trent Griffiths 19) Joseph Nohra 20) Isaac Chapman Coach – Leon Latulipe
Bloody hell!! That game slipped through our fingers tonight. We could have and should have won that. If you look back at the game (and I’m about to point out everything now) the Sharks points came off our errors or misreads. It was a minor miracle that we managed to draw level to force Golden Point despite having a better completion rate and more possession. Shark Park has never been a happy hunting ground for Souths and tonight’s loss just added to that miserable record.
I can’t believe Latrell could miss three field goal attempts in extra time. He also nearly missed the try conversion from in front to tie the game. Latrell didn’t seem himself tonight – I don’t think he played to his usual high standard. Tom Burgess getting sent off didn’t help our cause either. Personally I thought the tackle looked a lot worse than what it was – his initial contact was his arm. But of course the Sharks vocal home crowd revved the ref up not only over that tackle but plenty of other times throughout the night. In fact, Souths lost the penalty count 3-6 and weren’t given one six again all night despite the Sharks players taking their sweet time to get off us.
Souths started the game strong making great yards with the ball through our forwards – Junior Tatola was particularly outstanding. This gave us great field position and we had the upper hand early and even managed to make the most of that superiority before Johnston scored our first try in the corner in the 12th minute with Latrell adding the extras. Sharks first try came after the ref gave them a six again for nothing. Connor Tracey showed up AJ on our left side – AJ should have gone low and forced him into touch. The Sharks second try came a set after Damien Cook threw a forward pass from dummy half that had them back on our doorstep again. When Mulitalo went up to take that bomb to score his try – not one of players went up for the ball – they all just looked at it.
I don’t know what was up with Cody Walker tonight but it was like he overdosed on angry pills before kick off because he was lashing out at everyone and making some silly mistakes and making some dumb decisions. By the way, his escort was blatant – he was looking at the Sharks player coming through closer than a teenager would look at a porn site. And it should never have been challenged. He also threw a couple of passes when they just were not on. He was even trying to pick a fight as he was walking off with Souths trailing 14-6 at halftime. And inside him Ilias also made a couple of crucial blunders as well including not managing to get off his fifth tackle kicks.
We needed as strong start to the second half and that’s exactly what we got when our forwards took the ball 70m downfield off the kick off. A Sharks knock-on gave us possession again and Latrell pounced on a Cody Walker (he did one thing right) kick after three minutes to bring is back neck-and-neck with them. The next section of the game was an arm wrestle, and it was off the back of the efforts of our forwards who were making great ground with the ball and tackling themselves to a standstill. Our left side was far from its usual potent self tonight and when the ball went that way the Sharks always had an answer. There were also a few occasions when we were attacking their line that it looked like we were making it up as we were going. There was no one calling the shots. There were a few times when we got the ball and just stood still. It didn’t help us losing Cartwright to injury – he was making good yards with the ball and making great tackles including a cracker on Talakai who he forced into touch. This meant Latrell was shifted to centre and Nikorima went back to fullback. Not sure whether playing Latrell out of position was the right call but I guess Demetriou didn’t have much of a choice.
It was an error from Tass – who was having a great game up to that point – that gave the Sharks the ball inside our 30 – it was one of only a handful of times they had been in our half. But some loose defence, including an uncharacteristic miss from Cam Murray, saw Andrew Fifita wind back the clock and score.
I applaud the fact that Souths didn’t switch off here. The replacement forwards Davvy Moale and Siliva Havili kept us in the game with their energy with the ball and in defence. Our defence all night had pretty much been on point apart from a couple of lapses. Junior Tatola was rewarded with a try after one his best and busiest games. He was a standout tonight. He also had company from Keaon Koloamatangi who’s smart one-on-one strip of Talakai got us the ball back for Tatola to score that try. We were now all locked up at 20-all and my heart rate looked like the readout of a 10 Richter scale earthquake.
I thought we had Golden Point wrapped up when the ref bravely ruled that Fifita knocked on in the play the ball in their half. But instead of waiting till the fifth tackle – we could have scored a try – they decided to pass it to Latrell on tackle three and he misses it worse than one of my shanks on a par three at The Coast. Now you’d think that he’d slot one of his other two efforts, but it was just not his night. Burgess’s send off and penalty would be all the Sharks needed to stab every Souths supporter in the heart with an effortless field goal from Nicho Hynes.
That defeat could prove more costly than we realise – it could mean that a top four finish is now out of our reach. It looks like we’ll be without Cartwright for a few weeks and Burgess might also get a decent judiciary-sanctioned vacation as well. It all starts again next week when we take on the Warriors on the Sunshine Coast before we play Parra, Penrith, Cowboys and the Roosters. We need to regroup and we need to do it fast. If we can hold the ball and complete our sets, there’s nothing to say we can’t win every one of those games. We just need to see how badly Souths want it. Let’s go Rabbitohs!!!