Kickoff to Season 2017

The footy’s back! You can just feel it in the air. You can see it on the faces of fans keen for the Rabbitohs to rebound strongly after disappointments in 2016. The signing of Robbie Farah is the talk of Redfern, the hardy hooker a popular figure at Redfern Park and the adjacent Park Cafe, pre- and post-training.

Eddie and Robbie Farah with fans at Redfern Oval. Photo: Supplied
Eddie and Robbie Farah with fans at Redfern Oval. Photo: Supplied

“Welcome, Robbie!” says one passionate supporter at the Park Cafe, “you’re our second-favourite Farah!” The good-natured joke alludes to long-time Souths physio Eddie Farah, the star recruit’s brother. There’s even a new banner to express the sentiment.

When Robbie was first to cross for a try in February’s Charity Shield victory over the Dragons, the Burrow erupted with excitement. The dominant display saw Souths easily account for the red-and-whites. The final score, Souths 34-14, was a fair reflection of the contest.

As always, Burrow regulars Michelle, Wayne, Josh, Paul, Sue, Charlotte and Harry are eager to show their support. Reunited as family for the Round 1 clash with the Tigers at ANZ Stadium, they join Melissa and Phil, Dylan and Ted, Kevina and Deidre, Pat and Cheryl, Darren, Albert, Kevin, Aaron, Brian, Mick, Judy, Lorraine, Liz and Alecia in aisles 109 and 110. Mary knits mittens to calm her nerves. They stand and cheer, singing in the rain, “South Sydney is wonderful …” Winger Bryson Goodwin is first to score, but an injury to superstar captain Greg Inglis proves disastrous. The Tigers are simply better in the slippery conditions, prevailing 34-18.

Meanwhile back at the Park Cafe, ardent Rabbitohs fan John Lanzky remains confident. Anticipating a speedy recovery for Adam Reynolds (appendicitis), he predicts big things for Souths this year, wary of threats posed by the Knights, Warriors and Raiders. The Sharks, he says, will be lucky to make the top eight. “They’ll miss Michael Ennis and Ben Barber,” he opines.

Most Sundays throughout the footy season you’ll find Lanzky at Waterloo Oval, barbecuing sausages for the Redfern All Blacks juniors rugby league community. The first-grade premiers of the South Sydney competition have just returned from a triumphant trip to Newcastle where they defeated Queensland Aboriginal champions Cherbourg to claim the Interstate Challenge trophy.

After four very successful years with the RABs, president Lisa Williams and treasurer Michelle Hamilton have resigned from the board. Congratulations and thanks to them both. And every good wish to the new board.

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