Sport

Souths in 2018 – looking back, looking forward

REDFERN: It was a tight contest this year, and our mighty Red and Green team did us proud. In just his first year as head coach Anthony Seibold did a superb job, thoroughly deserving his Dally M Coach of the Year award. Many of us hoped we’d make the finals. We did better than that, making the top four on equal points with the Roosters, Storm and Sharks.

Zali and Ned Ross, two of Souths’ biggest fans. Photo: Frances Kennedy
Zali and Ned Ross, two of Souths’ biggest fans. Photo: Frances Kennedy

It was disappointing to miss a chance to play in the grand final, of course, but 2018 has given Souths something to build on. We’ve got some promising juniors coming through. Most of the senior players will be on the team again next year. Angus Crichton is leaving to join the Roosters. Jason Clark is heading to England – he will be sorely missed.

Greg Inglis returned a more mature player in 2018 – a strong leader and inspirational captain, steady, deadly. He’s a perfect player, really. And when he lifts, the whole team lifts.

Adam Reynolds had another positive year and is in my opinion the number one halfback in NSW. He’s the best organiser, the best kicker – top value.

Cameron Murray charging ahead. Photo: NRL Photos

Cameron Murray charging ahead. Photo: NRL Photos

Cameron Murray played well at lock. He is an exciting player. At just 19 years of age, he is the future of the Rabbitohs. Alex Johnston was electric in attack and effective in defence. Damien Cook had a huge year – sensational – Dally M Hooker of the Year. Cody Walker was impressive, too. He has that X factor in attack and gives his all – consistently reliable.

Of course, the Burgess boys all played well. Week after week, they trampled up the middle and never stopped trying, ever, not for five minutes.

In general, we observed a transition from very structured plays to something more instinctive. The sweeping right-to-left-side play led to many scintillating tries this year.

It’s not always recognised how much the players give back to the community. Over the last five months, 10 players, younger guys mostly, have been involved in programs run by the Salvation Army – helping to distribute food and essential supplies to people and families in need. Front-rower Mark Nicholls was the player who set it up.

Through Souths Cares, players made regular school and regional community visits. Braidon Burns spent time with children and families on Thursday Island. Greg Inglis went to Kempsey.

Players and coaching staff are seen most mornings at the Park Café on Chalmers Street. They are always friendly and happy to meet with locals before and after training. Several players, including Jason Clark, Damien Cook, Adam Reynolds, Greg Inglis, Hymell Hunt and Cody Walker, completed a barista course with café owner Harry Azar.

Let’s repeat all the positives next year and go two steps further. Go the Bunnies!

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