We have hardly heard from the man in the past 12 months writes John Chelsea, but as the South Sydney Rabbitohs slump to 1 win from 10 starts on the field and also cop a beating in the press – out comes George Piggins to slam the club management and the internal factions that ousted the popular former Souths boss.After George Piggins cut ties with the club after losing a vote for control of Souths he went to ground. Piggins refused to attend games or check on the progress of his beloved team. He remained quiet for the majority of 2007 as the South Sydney Rabbitohs under new coach Jason Taylor and operators Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court charged into their first semi-finals birth in over a decade.
There was no congratulations from George Piggins. As the olive branch was continually extended from the new owners of South Sydney, George remained distant and refused to drop the past.
South Sydney is a club that almost every NRL Rugby League supporter has a soft spot for. Australians love an underdog and maybe this is why we have all riden Souths so hard and wished them well at every turn. If you’re team isn’t playing, you’ll generally find most League fans will root for the Bunnies.
The problem for Souths is that the club gets torn apart from within all too often. We’ve heard the media reports of Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court not seeing eye to eye, then George Piggins awakes from his slumber to slam the club and stick the boot in while he has the chance and everything goes back to square one.
While tradition is such an important part of Rugby League and we must cherish it especially in our Centenary Year; the long and distinguished history for South Sydney is probably killing the club and not allowing it to move forward. It seems Crowe and Holmes a Court have the right idea and have tried to bring in new mentalities and systems to forge ahead, but there is always a voice from the past or a comparison to the ‘old days’ that flares up another disagreement at the club and sends everyone in a different direction.
The relocation offer of $8 million from the NRL to any club who moves their homebase away from Sydney should seriously be considered by South Sydney.
While the money would be a handy boost for the club, the biggest advantage would be a fresh start. While Redfern holds such deep roots and memories for the foundation Rugby League club, what is the benefit of staying there now? Clover Moore and the local Council scrapped all plans for a purpose built home ground in Redfern and the compromise was a ‘training facility’ that is being constructed right near the pokie-less Leagues club.
So this means that Souths will still play their games from the distant ANZ Stadium and not only is their Leagues club over 40km from the playing venue, but their chances of making any additional money at their base are thwarted by the fact there are no pokie machines to bring in additional revenue.
Souths need to cut ties with the disgruntled past and forge ahead into a new era. With respect, too many of yesterdays heros are hurting South Sydney. Sometimes we all need to bury the past and put up with some angst just for the good of the NRL team.
George, South Sydney need your support right now. Stop holding the club back, get on board and let the club be re-born. The alternatives are a lot worse, because you risk either losing your team forever or worse still – not being a part of the celebrations when they finally secure the NRL Premiership.