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ratz_man

ratz_man

[h=1]Clinical Bunnies bound for glory[/h]
The modern-day version of the South Sydney Rabbitohs has finally come of age as a football team.
At the start of this season I selected Souths as my No.1 tip to challenge for the title. Making that selection certainly doesn't mean much. But what's more important is after the first four rounds, I have absolutely no reason to change my mind. In fact, as a result of this win on Good Friday, I'm even more confident now than I was back in February.
This hard-fought victory against Canterbury in front of more than 51,000 fans at ANZ Stadium convinced me of a few things. We all suspected Souths were getting very close to having the coach and the players to win a premiership. Friday taught us Souths now have the game and the temperament to get the job done. Sure they look like the Melbourne Storm in the way they go about their work. But tell me why that's not a good thing?
They are a team that will no longer beat themselves. You will have to beat Souths; they won't contribute to their own demise.
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The first 15 minutes of Friday's match had me leaning further forward in my seat as each minute ticked by. It was gripping finals-style football. Run for run, tackle for tackle, set for set, kick for kick; these two teams went at each other. No errors, no missed tackles, no errant kicks, no stoppages in play. Each team was waiting for the other to crack.
I remember thinking to myself this is one examination the Rabbitohs just have to pass. If they buckled in the face of this determined Bulldogs' confrontation, their credentials as genuine premiership prospects would've been dented. Sure it's only round four and we have such a long way to go; but sometimes you just need to pass one of these tests early in the year to prove to yourself your team has what it takes to stare down pain, fatigue and the most determined of oppositions.
When this opening gambit from both sides was completed, the Bulldogs had been first to score and held the slight advantage. I have no doubt in previous years that would've been the end for South Sydney. It would've been too hard, they would start to panic, they would self-destruct, and they would have a list of excuses at full-time to explain away the loss.
It would appear those days are gone. This Souths team would not be denied and immediately came roaring back. They soon levelled up, then took the lead, and eventually won the match running away. The final score showed only a five-point winning margin, however, I though their superiority was far greater.
This is a performance these Souths players can draw upon later in the season when they are playing in games for higher stakes. Big is good; and this is a big, big football team. The forward pack has size, mobility and grunt. Unheralded players such as Ben Lowe, Chris McQueen and David Tyrell diligently go about their work. Ben Te'o has been a wonderful acquisition for the side. Roy Asotasi, Mick Crocker and Jeff Lima give the side that hard-nosed experience all teams crave. Issac Luke and Nathan Peats are both tremendous out of dummy-half. Both are playing with more thought and composure in their game.
And then we have the Burgess boys. Wow! I will deal with George Burgess first. This boy is a giant. He has a frame on which you could build a block of home units. He has great speed for a big man, which gives him explosive power over the advantage line and into the teeth of the opposition forward pack.
He often doubles up with two runs in the same set of six to get his team moving forward. The 20-year-old plays with a confidence and fervour that belies his tender years. His two barge-over tries this year have sparked rapturous celebrations from teammates, indicating he is extremely popular with his peers. This bloke is a sensation. If his other brothers are half as good as this bloke then the game won't be fair when they all come together in the same team. They will be unstoppable.
Now let's get to big brother, Sam Burgess.
Years ago Nathan Brown called me from England to say he had just seen the best young forward he had ever laid eyes on. His name was Sam Burgess. We have seen a lot of great English forwards come to this country over the years and adapt very well to the Australian conditions and game.
How many can you name? I can go back to the likes of Dick Huddart, Cliff Watson, Brian Lockwood, Jim Mills, Steve Norton, Doug Laughton, Merv Hicks, Phil Lowe, Bill Ashurst, Mike Stephenson, Kevin Ward, Gareth Ellis, Adrian Morley; the best I saw was the great Malcolm Reilly. You might be able to remember others.
This bloke Sam Burgess might just prove himself to be the best of all time. He is an 80-minute powerhouse. He was mighty on Friday. As the forward battle raged and everyone was giving as good as they got, Burgess stood head and shoulders above the rest. His charges on the edges of the field are relentless. The further the game goes, the more damaging he seems to become. He just wears them down.
He has a tremendous constitution for work. He doesn't play like your normal front-rower.
Let me point you to a moment just before the half-time siren where the Bulldogs were attacking the South Sydney line. The Dogs move the ball to the left on a long-side shift with several of those decoy runners charging at the line. At a critical point, one of these decoy runners makes eyes for Sam Burgess and engages him. Now most players would probably allow the decoy to hit them and fall down to the ground to get a penalty. Others would stand their ground in a show of strength just to remind their opponent they are no easy touch.
Burgess did neither. Once he knew the man he was marking wasn't getting the ball, he released himself, covered his teammates to the outside and followed the play. When the Dogs then grubber-kicked into the in-goal area desperately searching for the kick-and-chase try, who was there to win the race to the ball and knock it dead, defusing any danger?
That's a player right there.
He is a sensation and so important to the personality and character of this South Sydney group. He reminds me a bit of Gorden Tallis in the way he wills things to happen for his team. He believes he can make good things happen. And then we get to the backs.
Nathan Merritt. How has this bloke never played Origin football? What a pro. Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin and Andrew Everingham are very competent in their roles and all growing in confidence as this team starts to excel.
Greg Inglis. Have we ever seen such a dynamic athlete in the game of rugby league? He is so graceful in full flight, so skilful, so fast; but with such raw power. His selective passing game in the fullback role has been brilliant.
The biggest five-eighth in history, John Sutton, has finally established himself as a serious footballer. Always the epitome of potential, Sutton is now the accomplished performer. The mixture he has in his game is highly impressive. His decision-making has improved out of sight. I am enjoying the fact this fellow has finally realised what we all saw in him as a youngster. I didn't know if he would get there - but Sutton has now arrived.
Who does that leave? Oh yeah, the halfback. This Adam Reynolds kid is getting better by the week. He complements this team perfectly. He doesn't overplay his hand. He just does his job and keeps things bubbling along. He supports the work of his teammates, ever-ready to capitalise on their creativity. Then when needed, he produces his brilliant kicking game that can produce points, or simply force the line drop-out to maintain the pressure on the opponents.
Souths fans are pushing hard for Reynolds to be the next NSW No.7. The murmur has now become a roar as a groundswell of support comes for this lad. This is a super-football team. Well-balanced, these boys are playing as a unit, and as Friday showed, they have become far more resilient under pressure.
Personally, I think this is the best South Sydney football team I have ever seen. I'm sure old-timers will argue the point. But this is a team that could well carry the trophy on a victory lap in October.
Well done South Sydney fans. Enjoy the ride.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/clinical-bunnies-bound-for-glory-20130330-2h04l.html#ixzz2P3kzS2dh 
ratz_man

ratz_man

[h=2]Story template[/h]

[h=2]http://forums.rleague.com/sport/nrl/origin State Of Origin [/h]
[h=1]Flying South Sydney winger Nathan Merritt says this is his last crack at an Origin jumper
NATHAN Merritt has declared it is "now or never" for his State of Origin dream, claiming he will never be selected to play for NSW if he is overlooked this year. [/h]

Merritt is again bracing himself for another representative snub, with the NRL's hottest winger refusing to get his hopes up after a history of rejection.
Merritt has been in great form, scoring seven tries in four games and running for 367m in South Sydney's undefeated start to the year.
But the Redfern rocket is facing a stiff challenge from Brett Morris and Akuila Uate and he said he would not be surprised if he his overlooked.
"It is definitely something I can't worry about because it is out of my hands," Merritt said.
"You get used to the knock-backs and being overlooked. I can't think about that and all I will worry about is playing my best football for Souths.

"I will just keep on competing and if I get the individual rewards then so be it. I am certainly not expecting it."
Merritt said he was ready to play Origin and had been for three years. He is adamant he is up to the job of helping NSW break their drought.
"I am ready," Merritt said.
"But I have been ready for a while. I have done all the hard work over the last couple of year and it has made me a better player. I am definitely ready for Origin if I get selected in the team. I would put my hand up any day."
Merritt said he had dreamed of playing for NSW since he was a kid and felt his ambition would not be realised if he was not given the nod this year.
"It is something I definitely want to do and that I dream about," he said.
"Every player wants to play for their state and it would be great if I could get there. If I don't get there this year I will never get in. We will see what happens and I will just try to improve and play well."
Merritt's Origin claims were backed by five-eighth John Sutton, who dismissed claims the winger was too small.
"He is ready," Merritt's Souths teammate said. "I don't know what else he can do."

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/flying-south-sydney-winger-nathan-merritt-says-this-is-his-last-crack-at-an-origin-jumper/story-e6frexv9-1226609519621 
ratz_man

ratz_man

Maguire gave Souths groove back - Fenech

Souths legend Mario Fenech said there was no doubt where coach Michael Maguire already ranked in the club's tradition-steeped history - even though he has entered only his second season at Redfern.
''He's been our best signing in 20 years, without a doubt," said Fenech. "I'm a real fan of the coach, the coach sets the platform and Michael Maguire is top class, he's cutting edge. He's someone the players relate to, he's the boss and he's sharp too, with his structure and with his attitude to the game."
Fenech, who said he often attended Souths training sessions at Redfern Oval, was impressed by the interaction the former Wigan coach had with his players.
"He's a great mentor to the boys … I've had a lot of discussions with the Souths boys and I'll tell you what, I haven't met one of them yet who isn't a fan of his."
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Fenech was as adamant Maguire should take credit for superstar Greg Inglis' dynamic impact on the NRL competition.
''Michael is a really great tactical coach and consequently we have a lot of cannons to fire,'' he said. "Namely Inglis and different players [who] we can utilise.
''It's no secret Greg Inglis has played his best footy because of the set-up, the planning that goes into it and the structure that's taken place under Maguire.
"We have players competing for positions, players at Souths have a nice, healthy attitude. I go to training and I see it - a lot of smiles, a lot of seriousness. Souths is in a pretty exciting place, right now. You see that in our halfback, Adam Reynolds. He's a genius, but he is so organised, so calm and prepared. I watch him after training when he kicks footballs for an hour. I look at him and see he has rep footy in him. Our boy is a leader, he's as tough as nails and he's pushing us."
After Souths started their 2013 season with four straight wins, their latest against Canterbury on Good Friday, Fenech said the red and green machine had breathed new life into one of the code's oldest sayings. "There's a belief when Souths are going well rugby league is going well," he said.
"People reckon I only say that because I'm Souths but I don't. It's fact. If you look at last year's [finals] match between the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs it was like a grand final, the excitement and the energy among the crowd was incredible."
Fenech joined the chorus of supporters who want their club to tie off-contract favourite John Sutton to a deal that would ensure he finished his career as a Souths man. "I have no doubt we'll get 'Sutto' to sign on," Fenech said. "He's a local junior, he's a big man, he's hard to stop and he's thrived under Michael Maguire's coaching."


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/maguire-gave-souths-groove-back--fenech-20130330-2h06c.html#ixzz2P3p28O00 
bobbymoses

bobbymoses

Gould is still a tosser,,,,even if he says nice things about us,,,,,,,,, 
Doyen

Doyen

This may be the best team silly Gus has seen but it is not the best team by a long shot!!
The 1970 team[13 men + one bench]included 13 internationals---
Simms
Cleary
Sait
Arthur Branighan[only non-rep]
Ray Branighan
Pittard
Grant
Sattler
Walters
O'Neill
McCarthy
Stevens
Coote

Honan[bench]

Given all the benefits that modern day players have this team would have won comfortably!!
All but Arthur BRANIGHAN played for Australia!!
Two other Aussie players;Piggins & Morgan couldn't make the side!! 
Lewis06

Lewis06

Where are they all now? Any of them die from a shoulder charge related illness? 
ratz_man

ratz_man

Lurch died 
Doyen

Doyen

Well,well--guess who!!??
None would have died of SC's as it wasn't part of the game back then.A rare occurrence!!
A Gibson/gridiron introduced tackle.
O'Neill is the only one passed on,I think!
Most are fit,well & lucid. 
ratz_man

ratz_man

He lived not far from you Doyen 
Doyen

Doyen

Can you remember what street?? 
ratz_man

ratz_man

I think it was Page st, across Wentworth ave 
Doyen

Doyen

Sths at present are heading towards the Fenech led side of the late 80's.That was a great side----minor premiers & had many great players.
"Lurch" O'Neill died of cancer in 1999[aged 56]--over 4000 people attended his funeral.
He was a naturally hard,tough guy--he wouldn't have had to prove it with a SC!! 
ratz_man

ratz_man

My age 
Doyen

Doyen

The Sths team/s of the late 60s/early 70s won the comp 4 out of 5 yrs & were robbed in 1969 to make it 5!!
Next Gus will be comparing them with the Saints sides of the 50/60s---11 comps on the trot----Gus gets carried away;big time!!! 
southsport

southsport

Lurch wasn't that tough.........little Tommy Bishop bopped him on the chin and got away with it. :D 
BringbackBRL

BringbackBRL

I loved that side, especially the forward pack - Fenech, Roberts (both), Chisolm, Andrews, Serdaris...was Lindsay Johnston there too? 
Doyen

Doyen

It wouldn't have entered Lurch's head to retaliate against a pipsqueak like Tommy B!!!
He would be more likely to say,"Gee,the mozzies are bad today!"
Tommy would have been one of the 4000+ at his funeral;I bet! 
Doyen

Doyen

Try this on for size as a pack----Les Davidson,Ian Roberts,Boyle,Paul Roberts,Andrews,Chisholm,Johnston,Tony Rampling,Fenech,Serdaris plus good depth!!! 
BringbackBRL

BringbackBRL

How could I forget Davidson... 
ratz_man

ratz_man

Pick a Souths team of the century and who would be fullback? the little master or GI? 
Doyen

Doyen

Depends what century!!
Given all the benefits of today--& Churchill really did need building up in the gym---it would be hard to choose----but personally,I would go for Churchill as he played for Sths for ages & has a fabulous record for team,state & country.
Other teams were just as much in awe of Churchill as they are today of GI!!
Churchill mastered every facet of the game--electrifying in attack & a brilliant defender--a great left-footed kick & goal kicker---he was rightfully known as "The Little Master."
GI is only a johnny-come-lately at this stage & still has plenty to prove. 
MadMike

MadMike

JS would have to be 5/8 
southsport

southsport

doyen, do you remember the incident?..........one of the funniest I have seen, Tommy jumped up, took swing and then ran away. 
Doyen

Doyen

I do actually.Bishop was well known for his stirring.He used the hit & run a few times.
He was a terrific player & xer & almost lead Cronulla to their 1st p/ship.
Lurch was a great,great bloke;hence the number that attended his funeral. 
Doyen

Doyen

There were a------look forward please! 

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