You could perhaps call it the fairy-tale story of 2012, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the top teams on the ladder this year, and playing as well as they have for a while, under first-year coach Michael Maguire.
For Souths five-eighth John Sutton, he believes that that has come down to the success of one man – halfback Adam Reynolds, who he described as an “old-school” halfback.
“Adam is a real leader at halfback and knows what he wants,” he said.
“He is not standing there waiting to get involved, he is involving himself and taking real leadership of the team. I guess he is kind of old school, in that he is calling plays and telling blokes where to be”.
The concern for Souths in letting go Chris Sandow in the nature that they did, was that they would struggle – but it appears that under Maguire, and a new regime, the side have more structure to their game.
“A lot of people thought we would struggle after ‘Chrissy’, but Adam has not missed a beat and he is taking all the right options,” Sutton said.
“He is working really well and with him there and Greg at fullback, the whole team is working. For his first season, Adam has been unreal. He has a quiet confidence about him, a mature head, and he is really composed out there”.
At times, although they may have struggled with the structure that Maguire has been implementing into the side, at the same time, it is key, with Sutton finding his place as a player in the new system.
“Madge [Maguire] has brought all this structure not just into the side, but the club, and it is working really well for me,” he said.
“Everyone has jumped on board with what he is doing, and it is really starting to show more and more each week, as we stick to that style.
“We are going into matches pretty confident with what what we are doing and what we can do, and we are enjoying it. To be up there in serious finals contention, competing with bigger teams every week and playing good footy, it is a great feeling and I am enjoying it.
“There is still a long way to go, but that confidence in ourselves and the gameplan, has us pretty happy on the field.”
Sutton himself refuses to take any of the credit for the team’s form however, instead labelling QLD rep player Greg Inglis as the reason why they are where they are.
“It has been going pretty well for me this year, and the season is coming along pretty nicely since Greg has been at fullback,” Sutton said.
“I just try and get him as much ball as possible, so that he can do his thing.
“He has been killing it, and it has taken a lot of pressure off me and Adam. We can all focus on our games. My job is pretty simple, and with Adam playing the way he is, and Greg doing what he does, there is no need to complicate anything. My job is to create space, and if you can do things like that for guys like Greg, well they will do the rest.”