Ricky’s Season Previews Part 12: South Sydney Rabbitohs

We’re on the home stretch in the season previews for 2013, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs are the ones to go under the microscope this time around – what’s in store for the Bunnies in 2013?

After going through some hard and tough times as a club for a while, the last few seasons has seen a resurgence from the South Sydney Rabbitohs – a resurgence that saw them make the finals in 2013, and boasting some of the NRL’s most exciting players in Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess and Adam Reynolds.

There isn’t much else that has to be said or can be said about Greg Inglis and what he brings to the club. 2012 was a season where he was in top form for the club, showcasing it left, right and centre in many games across the season -a feat that he will look to emulate in 2013.
With Inglis playing the way he did in 2012 and with the QLD and Australian representative apparently putting on an additional five kilograms of muscle yet maintaining the speed and agility of 2012, that is a frightening prospect for opposition teams – given the inroads Inglis made into opposition defences last year.

Playing as an additional ball-player from the back and as a support player when the time arises, Inglis at his peak, is one of the elite players in the game and one of the elite fullbacks in the NRL, rivalling the likes of Billy Slater and Jarryd Hayne for that mantle – and given how he played last year and what he can potentially do in 2013, you would expect him to challenge those two for the mantle of best fullback.

Sam Burgess is in a similar mold, whereby not a lot has to be said about him given the workload and effort he puts in and gets through every week for the Bunnies.
Whilst at times, he’s injury prone, the impact he has on the field is second to none for the Bunnies and more often than not, he’s the one that sets the tone as a forward, allowing more time and space for the halves to make their presence felt in the attacking third.
For Burgess, 2013 will be about staying on the field as long as possible and hoping that injuries don’t come his way like they have in previous years.

Just on Burgess, 2013 marks the first time ever that all four Burgess brothers are contracted by the club. Sam, George, Luke and Thomas Burgess are all officially Rabbitohs, and should all play in the one game, they have a chance to repeat history – becoming the 2nd set of four brothers to play in the same game, after Roy, Ray, Rex & Bernard Norman for Annandale back in 1910.

On Adam Reynolds, the key for the Souths halfback, is to avoid the dreaded second-year syndrome. A good number of halves over the years have suffered from it to some extent, whether it be a really poor season in their second year or inconsistency – something that Reynolds will have to avoid.
Whilst Reynolds has all the talent in the world as we saw on show over the course of 2012, avoiding the pressures of the second-year syndrome is never easy – given that opposition teams clamp down on your room to move and create and formulate game-plans to stop you from executing as precisely and as efficiently as you did the previous year.

Despite that, however, it presents a challenge for Reynolds that you would presume he is ready and eager to tackle head on – with the Souths play-maker a key player for their charge towards what they hope is another finals berth in 2013.

One player who has received plenty of criticism throughout his career and at times, deservedly so, has been John Sutton. Many fans (including Souths fans), were critical of his performance and consistency throughout his career, but in 2012, that all changed.
Arguably, the 2012 season was the best footy we’ve ever seen John Sutton play – as he dipped, ducked, dodged, weaved and bamboozled his way around opposition defences consistently, something that he will look to continue in 2013.
Whether it was because Sutton realised the consistency was lacking from his game, the introduction of Adam Reynolds into the Souths side or a culmination of both, we may never know.
What we do know, however, is that it worked and John Sutton is back better than ever and raring to go for the 2013 season.

Whilst Souths do have some big names in their side, they’re also a side that has a lot of lesser known players (some even under-rated), that play a part in the side’s overall structure and who on their own, when given a chance, have proved that they can play the game of footy and perform well within the side.
Sure, you may not be totally familiar with the likes of Chris McQueen, Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, Nathan Peats and David Tyrrell, but, when required or called upon to enter the game and provided some lift and spark, they do it – perfecting their job as a role-players for the Souths side.
All of which have enjoyed some success with the Bunnies over the last few years and all of whom are important pieces to the puzzle for the Bunnies heading into 2013.

The Bunnies were not overly active in the recruitment market for 2013, with their two major buys coming in the form of returning centre Beau Champion and Brisbane Broncos second-rower/centre, Ben Te’o.

With the departure of David Taylor to the Gold Coast, Te’o has big shoes to fill for the Bunnies in 2013 – guaranteed a starting role for the start of the season in what is a great opportunity for him to show that he is indeed an 80-minute player at a consistent level.
Te’o is always an exciting player to watch and with the guaranteed starting spot, he has a chance to prove just how good he can be throughout the course of the game, as he looks to link up with the likes of Reynolds and Inglis where possible.

All in all, the Bunnies are a side that you would expect to see come September, given the quality, class and versatility they have across the board in their side.
Whether they can go all the way, only time will tell – but what is for certain, is that they’ll give it their best shot as they seek premiership glory.

1. Greg Inglis
2. Nathan Merritt
3. Beau Champion
4. Dylan Farrell
5. Andrew Everingham
6. John Sutton
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Sam Burgess
9. Issac Luke
10. Jeff Lima
11. Ben Te’o
12. Chris McQueen
13. Michael Crocker (C)

14. Nathan Peats
15. Roy Asotasi
16. Ben Lowe
17. Jason Clark

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