South Sydney Rabbitohs


South Sydney Rabbitohs

Infobox rugby league club
clubname = South Sydney Rabbitohs


fullname = South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club
nickname = The Rabbitohs, The Bunnies, Souths
short name = Souths
founded = 1908 as "South Sydney"
exited = 1999
readmitted = 2002
ground = ANZ Stadium
capacity = 83,500
ceo = Russell Crowe
Shane Richardson
coach = Jason Taylor
captain = Roy Asotasi
league = National Rugby League
season = 2008
position = 14th
homejersey = South Sydney home jersey 1980.svg
awayjersey = South Sydney away jersey 2008.svg

The South Sydney Rabbitohs, also known as Souths, The Bunnies, SSFC or The Rabbits, are an Australian professional rugby league team based in Sydney, New South Wales. They participate in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership and are one of nine existing teams from Sydney. The club was founded in 1908 and was one of the foundation members in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, the predecessor of the current NRL competition. They are one of only two foundation clubs still present in the league, the other being the Sydney Roosters. [In Australia, a foundation club is one that played in the first season of a competition. South Sydney played in the first season of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, the predecessor to the National Rugby League competition.]

The Rabbitohs' traditional heartland covers the once-typically working class suburbs of inner-south and south eastern Sydney, however they have long held a wide supporter base spread all over country New South Wales. The team's home ground is currently ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.

At the elite competition level, [New South Wales Rugby League (1908–1994), Australian Rugby League (1995–1997), National Rugby League (1998–present).] South Sydney are the most successful professional team in the history of Australian rugby league in terms of total championships won, having claimed 20 first grade premierships. However, they have not won a premiership since 1971. In 2007 Souths qualified for their first finals series since 1989.

There is such reverence for the Rabbitohs in Australian rugby league that there is the saying "When Souths are going well, rugby league is going well". [http://www.abc.net.au/austory/series4/9932text.htm]

History

The South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club was formed at a meeting on 17 January 1908 at Redfern Town Hallcite web | title=South Sydney Rabbitohs | url=http://rl1908.com/Clubs/South-Sydney-Rabbitohs.htm | accessdate=2007-06-03 |author=Fagan, Sean | publisher=RL1908.com] when administrator J J Giltinan, cricketer Victor Trumper and politician Henry Clement Hoyle came together in front of a large crowd of supporters.Ian Heads, "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000.] The club played in the first round of the newly formed New South Wales Rugby League, defeating North Sydney 11–7 at Birchgrove Oval on 20 April 1908.Ian Heads, "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000.] [ [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/seas/1908.html Season 1908] from the [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html Rugby League Tables & Statistics website] .] The team went on to win the inaugural premiership then successfully defended their title in the 1909 season, winning the Grand Final by default. [http://www.rl1908.com/articles/balmain-1909.htm "The Balmainiacs of 1909"] "RL1908.com" by Sean Fagan.] After further premiership success in 1914 and 1918, South Sydney won seven of the eight premierships from 1925–1932, only missing out in 1930. The 1925 side went through the season undefeated [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/seas/1925.html Season 1925] from the [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html Rugby League Tables & Statistics website] .] and is only one of six Australian premiership sides in history to have achieved this feat. Such was Souths dominance in the early years of the rugby league competition that the Rabbitohs were labelled "The Pride of the League". [In 1925 rugby league journalist Claude Corbett nicknamed the club the "Pride of the League" - see page 3 of Ian Heads' book "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000. On the internet Souths are referred to as the "Pride of the League" on the Sydney Olympic Park website: [http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/Home_of_sport/home_teams/south_sydney_rabbitohs Sydney Olympic Park.] Reference is also made in the official history of the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club by Tom Brock titled "South Sydney, Pride of the League", published in 1994. This is mentioned in Mr Brocks' biography: [http://www.sporthistory.org/TomBrockbio.htm Tom Brock Biography] at the "Australian Society for Sports History" website.] cite web | title=South Sydney Rabbitohs | url=http://rl1908.com/Clubs/South-Sydney-Rabbitohs.htm | accessdate=2007-06-03 |author=Fagan, Sean | publisher=RL1908.com]

South Sydney struggled through most of the 1940s, only making the semifinals on two occasions (1944 and 1949). South Sydney's longest losing streak of 22 games was during the period 1945-1947. In the 1945 season they only managed to win one game while in 1946 they were unable to win a single game.

.

John Bucknall. [A full description of the famous incident is in the article "10 of the Best - 1970: The Jawdropper" by Glenn Jackson in "Souths The People's Team", edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.] [See reference to [http://soaringseaeagles.tripod.com/players/playersb.htm John Bucknall] from the "Soaring Sea Eagles" website players page.]

Financial problems started to hit Souths in the early 1970s, forcing some players to go to other clubs. The licensed Leagues Club, traditionally such an important revenue provider to all first grade league sides, was closed in 1973 but a "Save Our Souths" campaign ensured the club survived. "Super Coach" Jack Gibson's [Reference to Jack Gibson as a "Super Coach" is common terminology in Australian rugby league circles given Gibson's outstanding coaching record - see: Australian Associated Press, [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/14/1060588510800.html?from=storyrhs Super coach Gibson salutes his favourite players,] "The Sydney Morning Herald", 14 August 2003.] arrival turned the club's form, winning the pre-season competition in 1978.Ian Heads, "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000.] The club captured victories in the mid-week Tooth Cup competition in 1981 [See the article "10 of the Best - 1981: The Droughtbreaker" by Glenn Jackson in "Souths The People's Team", edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.] and in the pre-season "Sevens" competition in 1988.Ian Heads, "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000.] The Rabbitohs were able to make the finals on five occasions in the 1980s, including a dominant season to finish as minor premiers in 1989.Ian Heads, "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000.] The 1989 season proved to be the club's most successful in years, but also marked the last time the club was able to reach the finals until 2007. The following season the Rabbitohs finished as wooden spooners.

The club stayed afloat in the 1990s despite major financial problems. Souths' only success came in 1994 when they won the pre-season competition, defeating the Brisbane Broncos 27–26 in the final.Ian Heads, "South Sydney, Pride of the League", Lothian, 2000.] The Super League War and the eventual formation of the National Rugby League affected the club greatly when it was determined in 1998 that the newly formed competition would be contracted to 14 teams for the 2000 season. Following a series of mergers by other teams, [The St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers merged into the St George Illawarra Dragons in 1998, the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies merged to form the Wests Tigers in 1999 whilst also in the same year the Manly Sea Eagles and North Sydney Bears (who were excluded from the competition on failing to meet solvency criteria) merged into the Northern Eagles (the merger was subsequently dissolved with Manly re-entering the competition in 2003).] South Sydney failed to meet the NRL's selection criteria to compete in the competition and were subsequently excluded from the premiership at the end of the 1999 season.

In 2000 and 2001, South Sydney fought their way back into the competition following a string of high profile legal battles [See [http://janus.law.usyd.edu.au/slr/docs_pdfs/editions/slr_v24_n4_bhc.pdf Before the High Court - Sport and the Law: The South Sydney Appeal] by Saul Fridman, Sydney Law Review, Vol 24: 558, 2002.] against the National Rugby League and News Limited. [See [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0521534275&id=Dt_XdDY-VbMC&pg=PA228&lpg=PA228&ots=NtnPyY50gG&dq=south+sydney+Rabbitohs&sig=IZrsqyQ3wNtujSROFxFVmKs-LVs#PPA227,M1 "Grassroots Ethics: The Case of Souths versus News Corporation"] , pages 216–229 of "Remote Control: New Media, New Ethics" by Michael Moller, edited by Catharine Lumby and Elspeth Probyn, Cambridge University Press, 2003 at [http://books.google.com Google Books] ] A number of well attended public rallies took place during this time, as supporters from many different clubs got behind South Sydney's case. Upon appeal to the Federal Court in 2001, [See [http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/federal_ct/2001/862.html South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club Ltd v News Limited FCA 862 (6 July 2001)] , decision of the Full Bench of the Federal Court of Australia.] South Sydney won readmission into the premiership for the 2002 season.See [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1865089184&id=Y_KSvEkUUNIC&pg=PA150&lpg=PA150&ots=N183KHJT2w&dq=rabbitohs&sig=VND-p2NDomWFLlcBM-6_YW0uCBM#PPA150,M1 "The Souths Revival"] , page 150 of "Strategic Sports Marketing" by David Shilbury, Shayne Quick and Hans Westerbeek, Allen & Unwin, 2003 at [http://books.google.com Google Books] ]

Since being readmitted, the Rabbitohs have been rather unsuccessful in the premiership, finishing amongst the bottom three teams for five seasons straight including three wooden spoons. However, following the club's takeover by famous Hollywood actor Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes à Court in 2006, [ [http://www.souths.com.au/fanzone/viewnewsarticle.asp?ArticleID=1553 New Era at Souths Begins Today With Official Handover Ceremony] from the official South Sydney website.] the club has had great success in securing a number of major international player signings as well as recruiting several key managerial positions including Jason Taylor as head coach.

The results were shown on the field with South Sydney winning their first three games of the 2007 season (marking their best start to a season since 1972) and being competitive in every game. On the back of one of the best defenses in the competition, the Rabbitohs finished strongly making the semi finals for the first time since 1989. They finished the season in 7th position, going down to Manly in the playoffs.

On 26 January 2008, the Rabbitohs lost 24-26 to the Leeds Rhinos in front of 12,000 fans at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, the first time first-grade professional rugby league teams from Australia and England have played each other in the United States.

May 2008 saw the sudden resignation of the then current Executive Chairman and CEO, Peter Holmes à Court. He had only been appointed to the role of CEO at the start of 2008. [cite news|author=AAP|publisher="The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au)"|title=Richardson quits as Souths CEO |url=http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/richardson-quits-as-souths-ceo/2007/10/31/1193618941602.html |accessdate=2008-09-09|date=2008-10-31] [cite news|author=South Sydney Rabbitohs|publisher="South Sydney Rabbitohs (rabbitohs.com.au)"|title=Rabbitohs Elevate Internal Staff in Management Restructure |url=http://www.rabbitohs.com.au/News/Club-News/Rabbitohs-Elevate-Internal-Staff-in-Management-Restructure.html |accessdate=2008-09-09|date=2008-02-02] Reports suggested that Holmes à Court had been forced to stand down after his relationship with Russell Crowe had deteriorated beyond repair. [cite news|author=Phil Rothfield and Rebecca Wilson|publisher="The Daily Telegraph (news.com.au)"|title=Holmes a Court to quit Souths |url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,23713973-23214,00.html |accessdate=2008-09-07|date=2008-05-18] [cite news|author=Josh Massoud|publisher="The Daily Telegraph (news.com.au)"|title=How Souths drowned in latte and largesse |url=http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23762623-5001021,00.html |accessdate=2008-09-07|date=2008-05-27] [cite news|author=Patrick Smith|publisher="The Australian"|title=A Court in the crossfire: the syndrome threatening to derail Souths |url=http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,23769426-12270,00.html |accessdate=2008-09-07|date=2008-05-28] [cite news|author=Josh Massoud|publisher="Courier Mail (news.com.au)"|title=Russell Crowe dumps Holmes a Court as Rabbitohs chairman |url=http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23764870-10389,00.html |accessdate=2008-09-07|date=2008-05-27] [cite news|author=Ray Chesterton|publisher="The Daily Telegraph (news.com.au)"|title=Crowe's company ruined Souths |url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23764954-5007146,00.html |accessdate=2008-09-07|date=2008-05-27]

The South Sydney Rabbitohs celebrated their centenary year during the 2008 National Rugby League season. The club fielded teams in the National Rugby League Telstra Premiership and the Toyota Cup National Youth Competition.

The Rabbitohs also have affiliate clubs in the New South Wales Cup competition (North Sydney Bears) and the European Super League (Leeds Rhinos, the reigning Super League champions).

On 3 September 2008, the South Sydney Football Club was named the National Trust's inaugural 'Community Icon' in recognition of the club's significant longstanding contribution to sport and sporting culture at both state and national levels. [ [http://www.rabbitohs.com.au/News/Club-News/Pride-of-the-League-Honoured-by-the-National-Trust.html 'Pride of the League' Honoured by the National Trust] from the official South Sydney website.]

Emblem

One version of how the club got the "Rabbitohs" nickname comes from the team's pre-schism days at the turn of the 20th century. During that period, players wearing their cardinal red and myrtle green football jumpers, earned some extra money on Saturday mornings by hawking rabbits around the district with the traditional cry of "Rabbitoh!" echoing through the narrow streets. [See the comments of reporter Roy Masters of "The Sydney Morning Herald" from the transcript of the Channel 9 "Sunday" TV program cover story: [http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/transcript_1012.asp "The Resurrection of the Rabbitohs".] ] As they made a sale, they would sling the bunny from their shoulder and skin it on the spot, inevitably accumulating some of the fur and blood on their jerseys as they did so. When they played in those blood stained jumpers that afternoon, opponents from wealthier rugby clubs did not always appreciate the aroma and would mockingly repeat the "Rabbitoh!" cry. [See the comments of ABC radio reporter Joe O'Brien from the transcript of the ABC "PM" radio program [http://www.abc.net.au/pm/stories/s324987.htm "Rabbitohs continue historic form",] broadcast on Friday, 6 July 2001.] Another account of the legend relates that the Rabbitoh name was a disparaging reference by opposing teams to South's home ground being plagued with "rabbit 'oles". In those early days Redfern Oval was then known as Nathan's Cow Paddock.cite web | title=South Sydney Rabbitohs | url=http://rl1908.com/Clubs/South-Sydney-Rabbitohs.htm | accessdate=2007-06-03 |author=Fagan, Sean | publisher=RL1908.com] Yet another version links the Rabbitoh name as being adopted from that of the touring Australian rugby union teams of the early 1900s who where nicknamed "Rabbits" prior to discarding the name in 1908 in favour of the moniker "Wallabies". [http://www.rl1908.com/clubcomps/origins.htm "Club Histories - New Speculations"] "RL1908.com" by Sean Fagan.]

The "Rabbitoh" emblem (a running white rabbit) first appeared on the team's jersey in 1959. The Rabbitoh emblem has in various forms been carried as the club's crest on every player's jersey ever since. The original "Rabbitoh" emblem design that appeared on the team's jerseys throughout the 1960s and 1970s has now been incorporated on the current jersey.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs will celebrate their centenary year during 2008. The club has released a centenary emblem to commemorate the occasion.

Colours

, one of the first doctors of the colony, who treated convicts and poor settlers as well as the wealthy.

The club's jersey has been a hooped-styled one comprising of alternating red and green, and has been used for the vast majority of the club's history. [ [http://www.souths.com.au/shop/viewproduct.asp?ProductID=277 South Sydney traditional jersey] from the official South Sydney website.] In 1945 and 1946 the club broke with this tradition and used a green design with a red "V" around the collar, before reverting back to the original hoop style. From 1980 to 1984 the team played in a strip which saw the inclusion of white hoops within a predominately green design with a central red stripe and was affectionately known as the "Minties" [See the article "Having a "Mintie wrapper" in your wardrobe" by Mark Courtney in "Souths The People's Team", edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.] jersey (so-called due to its apparent similarity to the wrapper design of the popular sweet). [See [http://www.souths.com.au/fanzone/viewnewsarticle.asp?ArticleID=783 '80s Week] from the official South Sydney website.] With the introduction of "away" jerseys towards the end of the 20th century, the club initially introduced a predominantly white jersey for away matches which was changed to a predominantly black one for the 2006 season.

Before the start of the 2007 season, the club announced that the away jersey would be styled identically to the traditional home jersey, with the exception of sponsorship and the rabbit emblem, which as been styled similarly to the one that initially featured on jerseys in the 1960s. [ [http://www.souths.com.au/shop/viewproduct.asp?ProductID=522 South Sydney 2007 home jersey] from the official South Sydney website.] For home matches, the rabbit emblem remains white and for away matches the emblem is black. [ [http://www.souths.com.au/shop/viewproduct.asp?ProductID=563 South Sydney 2007 alternate (away) jersey] from the official South Sydney website.]

The playing shorts worn were historically black, though in the late 1970s the club adopted green shorts with a red vertical stripe. This was then superseded by the white shorts of the "Minties" outfit. When the club subsequently reverted to their traditional playing strip, the decision was made to wear black shorts once more.

In 2008 the Rabbitohs wore white shorts to match the white stripe running down the side of their jersey.

tadium

During the early years of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, "home games" were not assigned as readily as they are today. However, South Sydney played most of their games at the Royal Agricultural Society Ground from 1908 until the club's final departure in 1920. From 1911 onwards, the Sydney Sports Ground was also used interchangeably with the Agricultural Ground over a decade for hosting matches. [ [http://www.angelfire.com/nb/coop/zSOUTH_SYDNEY.htm South Sydney] Co-op.] In 1947 the club played its final season at the Sports Ground, before relocating to Redfern Oval in 1948. [ [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/venues/redfern.html Redfern Oval] from the [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html Rugby League Tables & Statistics website] .] It was here that team played in the heart of the club's territory and played the vast majority of its allocated home matches for an extended period of time.

In 1988, the club began to play in the newly built Sydney Football Stadium, [ [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/venues/s.f.s..html Sydney Football Stadium] from the [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html Rugby League Tables & Statistics website] .] built upon the former Sydney Sports Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground No. 2 Oval. The side continued to play here up until 2005, with the exception of 2000 and 2001 during South Sydney's absence from the premiership.

In 2006 the club relocated home games to ANZ Stadium in Sydney's west (known as Telstra Stadium until the conclusion of 2007). In February 2008, the Rabbitohs renewed their partnership with ANZ Stadium to play NRL home games and home finals at the venue for the next 10 years, commencing season 2008. The agreement runs until the end of 2017, superseding the inaugural three-year home ground arrangement at ANZ Stadium that started in 2006.

During 2008 the City of Sydney Council [http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Development/CityImprovements/RedfernParkUpgrade.asp Proposed Redfern Park Upgrade,] City of Sydney website.] completed a $19.5 million upgrade and renovation of Redfern Oval. From season 2009, the upgraded Redfern Oval will provide the Rabbitohs with training facilities and a venue for hosting pre-season and exhibition matches. [http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Development/CityImprovements/RedfernParkUpgrade.asp Proposed Redfern Park Upgrade,] on the City of Sydney website.]

The South Sydney Rabbitohs will return for their first match at the newly renovated Redfern Oval when they play the Wests Tigers in a trial game on 8th February 2009. The ground capacity for this match will be around the 5,000 mark and access to the match will be limited to ticketed club members only.

upporters

The South Sydney Rabbitohs continue to have a large supporter base in their traditional areas of South-Eastern Sydney, despite having moved from Redfern Oval two decades ago, whilst also enjoying wide support throughout other rugby league playing centres around the country. [ [http://www.souths.com.au/fanzone/supportergroups.asp South Sydney supporter groups] from the official South Sydney website.] The main South Sydney supporters group at matches is known as "The Burrow." [ [http://www.theburrow.com.au/about_us.html The Burrow website.] ] By the start of the 2008 season, membership [Membership is of the South Sydney Members Rugby League Football Club which owns 25% of the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. The other 75% is owned by businessman Peter Holmes à Court and actor Russell Crowe through their company Blackcourt League Investments - see [http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/stories/s1595946.htm "Rabbitohs sold"] , by reporter Margaret El-Chami and presented by Virginia Trioli, "702 ABC Sydney", 20 March 2006.] of the Rabbitohs amounted to over 11,500 (including over 6,500 season ticket holders), after it had peaked at some 22,000 when the club was readmitted to the National Rugby League for season 2002. [Glenn Jackson, [http://www.smh.com.au/news/league/pride-in-the-rabbitohs-jersey--and-dollars-too/2006/12/19/1166290546793.html Pride in the Rabbitohs jersey - and dollars, too] , "The Sydney Morning Herald", 20 December 2006.]

Souths Sydney's bid for reinstatement, following their exclusion from the competition at the end of the 1999 season, saw a sustained campaign of public support unprecedented in Australian sporting history. In that year 40,000 people [ [http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=scholars&webpage=default&flexedit=&flex_password=&menu_label=&menuID=76&menubox=&scholar=131 Reclaiming the Game: Fandom, Community and Globalisation] , by Michael Moller, from the APINetwork website.] attended a rally in the Sydney CBD in support of South Sydney's cause. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/austory/transcripts/s336534.htm In George We Trust] , producd by Helen Grasswill, "Australian Story" transcript, 2 August 2001, from the ABC website.] [See the chapters "Reclaim the Game" and "Taking it to the Streets" in Mark Courtney's "Moving the Goalposts", Halstead Press, 2000.] In 2000 and 2001, public street marches took place in Sydney with in excess of 80,000 people rallying behind the Rabbitohs.See [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1865089184&id=Y_KSvEkUUNIC&pg=PA150&lpg=PA150&ots=N183KHJT2w&dq=rabbitohs&sig=VND-p2NDomWFLlcBM-6_YW0uCBM#PPA150,M1 "The Souths Revival"] , page 150 of "Strategic Sports Marketing" by David Shilbury, Shayne Quick and Hans Westerbeek, Allen & Unwin, 2003 at [http://books.google.com Google Books] ] The club also has a number of high-profile supporters as well, many of whom were dominant figures in their battle to be readmitted into the premiership in 2000 and 2001. [See pages 16 and 17 of [http://www.souths.com.au/sponsorship/Brochure_2007.pdf South's 2007 Corporate Partnership Brochure.] ] [See page 16 of [http://www.souths.com.au/sponsorship/Brochure_2007.pdf South's 2007 Corporate Partnership Brochure] where Shane Warne is being presented with his own personalised Souths jersey.] [See [http://www.souths.com.au/photogalleries/index.asp?ImageID=1132&GalleryID=162 Shane Warne at the Rabbitohs Twenty20 Cricket day] from the official South Sydney website.]

In season 2007 supporters set a new club record for attendance with an average home crowd figure of 15,702 being the highest ever for the Rabbitohs since the introduction of the home and away system in 1974.

Link to the indigenous community

Souths has a long history of producing talented indigenous players, including stars such as Eric Simms, Eric Robinson, Kevin Longbottom and, more recently, Nathan Merritt. [See the article "Red and Green and Black" by Shayne Bugden in "Souths The People's Team", edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.] Throughout its history the club has been a provider of opportunity for young Aboriginal players from both the South Sydney district and regional New South Wales. The link that exists between South Sydney Rugby League Club and the Aboriginal community of the district goes back to the formation of the Redfern All Blacks Football Club [ [http://www.sportingpulse.com/club_info.cgi?c=7-2153-20427-0-0&sID=18925 Who are the Redfern All Blacks] from the Redfern All Blacks website.] [ [http://www1.aiatsis.gov.au/dawn/docs/v19/s03/3.pdf A Club to be proud of...] by Ken Brindle, Hon. Secretary Redfern All Blacks, in "New Dawn", June 1970.] in 1930, a vitally important nursery for Souths over the years. [See section on [http://www.souths.com.au/fanzone/viewnewsarticle.asp?ArticleID=1639 The History of the Rabbitohs and the Indigenous Community] by Ian Heads in the article "Rabbitohs and NASCA Form New Alliance", from the official South Sydney website.]

Indigenous players in the current Souths squad for 2008 include Nathan Merritt, Dean Widders, Yileen Gordon, Shannon Hegarty, Germaine Paulson, Beau Champion and Chris Sandow.

Rivalries

The Rabbitohs and their fans have built up rivalries with other clubs, particularly the Sydney Roosters, the other remaining foundation club. [Will Swanton, [http://www.smh.com.au/news/league/shove-thy-neighbour-souths-rule-the-roost/2005/08/20/1124435184478.html Shove thy neighbour: Souths rule the roost] , "The Sydney Morning Herald", 21 August 2005.] The Rabbitohs and the Roosters share inner-Sydney territory, resulting in a strong rivalry since 1908 when Souths beat Eastern Suburbs in the first grand final 14-12. Games between the neighbouring foundation clubs have since formed part of the oldest "local derby" in the competition. [Iain Payten, [http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,21384078-5001021,00.html Souths' bitter blast at Roosters] "The Daily Telegraph", 15 March 2007.] The rivalry increased after 1950 due to conflict between junior territories and since the 1970s escalated once more as both clubs drew key players away from each other (Souths lost internationals Ron Coote, Elwyn Walters and Jim Morgan to the Roosters from their last era of premiership winning teams, whilst more recently Souths lured key forwards Bryan Fletcher and Peter Cusack away from the Roosters 2002 premiership winning side). In June 2007, amid controversy and much public fanfare, Souths signed from the Roosters Craig Wing, a Souths junior and former Rabbitoh player, on a four-year deal commencing season 2008.cite web|url=http://www.souths.com.au/fanzone/viewnewsarticle.asp?ArticleID=1939|title=Rabbitohs Sign Craig Wing for Four Years|publisher=Souths.com|date=2007-06-20]

Other long-time traditional rivals include the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (who since 1970 purchased many of Souths' star players) [ Key Souths players purchased by Manly included internationals John O'Neill, Ray Branighan, Elwyn Walters, Mark Carroll, Terry Hill, Jim Serdaris and Ian Roberts and other stars such as Bob Moses, Tom Mooney and Craig Field. ] and former clubs the St George Dragons (resulting in the annual Charity Shield match) and Balmain Tigers. The rivalry with Balmain began in 1909 when the Tigers failed to appear for the grand final and thereby forfeited to Souths.cite web | title=South Sydney Rabbitohs | url=http://rl1908.com/Clubs/South-Sydney-Rabbitohs.htm | accessdate=2007-06-03 |author=Fagan, Sean | publisher=RL1908.com] [http://www.rl1908.com/articles/balmain-1909.htm "The Balmainiacs of 1909"] "RL1908.com" by Sean Fagan.] In 1969 enmity was again fueled between the clubs with Balmain's controversial [Balmain players feigned injury in order to slow down the game, disrupt Souths attacking momentum and run-down the clock to full-time - see the [http://www.souths.com.au/tradition/seasonbyseason.asp?Year=1969&go.x=16&go.y=8 1969 season summary] from the official South Sydney website.] victory against the Rabbitohs in the grand final that year. [ [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/09/30/1096527870183.html Five of the best: grand final controversies] from the "Sydney Morning Herald" website, 1 October 2004.]

A book, The Book of Feuds, chronicling the rivalries of the Rabbitohs with their NRL competitors was written by Mark Courtney at the instigation of Russell Crowe. It has been used as a motivational tool before Souths matches and was later released on sale to the public. [ [http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/bitter-feud-to-get-public-airing/2007/09/01/1188067436982.html "Bitter feud to get public airing"] , Adrian Proszenko, "League HQ", 2 September 2007]

tatistics and Records

South Sydney are the most successful club in terms of honours and individual player achievements in the history of Australian rugby league.

The club boasts some notable achievements:

* The Rabbitohs have won the most first grade premierships (20) during the history of elite rugby league competition in Australia. [http://www.nrl.com.au/PremiershipRecords/tabid/292/Default.aspx NRL Premiership records] from the official NRL website.]

* Souths have also won the most reserve gradeUp until 2002, the second division of rugby league in New South Wales was Reserve Grade/Presidents Cup/First Division Premiers; since then, it has been the NSWRL Premier League.] premierships (20).

* The club has the distinction of scoring the most points (42), most tries (8) and most goals (9) in a grand final, all achieved against Manly in 1951. [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/seas/1951.html Season 1951] from the [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html Rugby League Tables & Statistics website] .]

* Souths' 1925 first grade side is one of six New South Wales sides to ever go through a season undefeated. [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/seas/1925.html Season 1925] from the [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html Rugby League Tables & Statistics website] .] The club won the premiership in all three grades in 1925, a feat only repeated on three other occasions (Balmain Tigers in 1915 and 1916 and St George Dragons in 1963).

The club's players have also achieved some notable individual game and point scoring milestones:

* Bob McCarthy holds the record for the most first grade games for the club, having played 211 matches between 1963 and 1978. [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.] Craig Coleman and Eric Simms are the only other two players to have played over 200 matches, having taken to the field in 208 and 206 games respectively. [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.]

* Jack Rayner holds the individual record of the most grand final successes as a captain (5) and coach (5) achieved between 1950 and 1955.

* Eric Simms holds the club record for the most points, tallying 1841 points between 1965 and 1975. [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.]

*Eric Simms scored 265 points on his own for South Sydney in 1969 and this tally along with ones achieved in 1970 and 1967 remain unsurpassed by any other player at the club. [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.] The 1969 tally was once a league record, and has since been broken by a number of players at other clubs.

* Eric Simms still holds a club and competition record for the most number of goals (112 goals and 19 field goals) in a season, most career field goals (86) and most field goals in a game (5).

* Johnny Graves' tally of 29 points in a match against Eastern Suburbs in 1952 [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.] remains the club record for the most individual points in a match. Had this feat been scored as it is today it would have stood at 32 points.

* Between 1921 and 1933 Benny Wearing scored 144 tries in his 172 games for the club, [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.] which is an exceptional proportion of tries per games played.

* Les Brennan's 29 tries in 19 games in 1954 remains a club record, [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.] having broken Johnny Graves' tally of 28 in 17 games set just three years earlier.

* During his career Bob McCarthy scored 100 tries for the club, the most by a forward. [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx Rabbitohs Club Records] from the official NRL website.]

2008 Squad

The following list comprises players who are in the Rabbitohs full-time first-grade squad for the 2008 Centenary Season in the NRL Telstra Premiership.

Rugby league squad player|nat=Australia|pos=HB|name=Craig Wing"Coach: Jason Taylor [ [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsTeam/tabid/233/Default.aspx South Sydney coaching profile for season 2007] from the official NRL website.]

Players selected for National Squads while playing for South Sydney in the 2008 Season:

Rugby league squad player | no= | nat=Tonga| pos=WG | name=Fetuli Talanoa*Rugby league squad player | no= | nat=Tonga | pos=SR | name=Manase Manuokafoa*Rugby league squad player | no= | nat=Tonga| pos=HB | name=Eddie Paea**Denotes being selected/playing for multiple countries

Player Gains and Losses for 2009

GAINS

Colin Best (Canberra Raiders), Rhys Wesser (Penrith Panthers), Kane Cleal (Bulldogs), Garrett Crossman (Hull KR, UK), Chris McQueen (Wynnum Manly Seagulls, QLD Cup), Matt Mundine (St. George Illawarra Dragons)

LOSSES

Dean Widders (Castleford Tigers, UK), Jeremy Smith (Salford City Reds, UK), Manase Manuokafoa (North Queensland Cowboys), Nigel Vagana (possible retirement or to rugby union in either France or Japan), Ben Rogers (Newcastle Knights after being released mid-season 2008 to St George Illawarra Dragons), Yileen Gordon (Bulldogs), Eddie Paea (released).

Notable players

The South Sydney Rabbitohs' greatest club side in history, the "South Sydney Dream Team", [ [http://www.souths.com.au/history/viewclublegends.asp?ArticleID=842 South Sydney Dream Team] from the official South Sydney website.] was announced in Sydney on 29 July 2004. The team consists of 17 players (four being reserves) and a coach representing the South Sydney Rabbitohs Football Club from 1908 through to 2004. The team spans the history of the code of rugby league in Australia and has collectively played 2,135 first grade games for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, 158 games for New South Wales, 3 games for Queensland and 158 Tests for Australia.

In 2002 on the Rabbitohs readmission to the competition, "The Magnificent XIII", [See "The Magnificent XIII" in the article "Hall of Fame" in "Souths The People's Team", edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.] a team consisting of great South Sydney players over the years was selected by a panel of rugby league journalists and former Souths players and coaches. The team consists of 17 players (four being reserves) and a coach representing the South Sydney Rabbitohs Football Club from 1908 through to 2002.

Honours

*sport honours|New South Wales Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and National Rugby League Premierships [Up until 1994, the top division of the premiership in New South Wales was the New South Wales Rugby League premiership; since then, it has been the Australian Rugby League (1995–1997) and the National Rugby League.] |20|1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971
*sport honours|Premiership runners-up|13|1910, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1949, 1952, 1965, 1969
*sport honours|New South Wales Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and National Rugby League minor premierships|17|1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1932, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1989
*sport honours|New South Wales Rugby League Club Championships|9|1932, 1933, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1989
*sport honours|City Cup|5|1912, 1919, 1921, 1924, 1925
*sport honours|Pre-Season Cup titles|4|1966, 1969, 1972, 1978
*sport honours|Tooth Cup|1|1981
*sport honours|Tooheys Challenge|1|1994
*sport honours|Sevens|1|1988
*sport honours|Sports Ground Cup|2|1914, 1915
*sport honours|League Cup|5|1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1922
*sport honours|Charity Shield|11|1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008
*sport honours|First Division, Premier LeagueUp until 2002, the second division of rugby league in New South Wales was Reserve Grade/Presidents Cup/First Division Premiers; since then, it has been the NSWRL Premier League.] |20|1913, 1914, 1917, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1945, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1966, 1968, 1983
*sport honours|Third Grade|10|1912, 1918, 1925, 1928, 1933, 1962, 1969, 1981, 1986, 1989
*sport honours|Jersey Flegg Cup|8|1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1978

References

Footnotes

Works cited

*cite book
last = Andrews
first = Malcolm
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The ABC of Rugby League
year = 2006
publisher = ABC Books
location = Australia
id = ISBN 9780733319464

*cite book
last = Courtney
first = Mark
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Moving the Goalposts (Out of print)
year = 2000
publisher = Halstead Press
location =
id = ISBN 1-8756-8449-2

*cite book
last = Fontaine
first = Angus (ed)
authorlink =
coauthors = League Week
title = Souths The People's Team
year = 2002
publisher = ACP Publishing
location =
id =

*cite book
last = Heads
first = Ian
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = South Sydney, Pride of the League
year = 2000
publisher = Lothian
location =
id = ISBN 0-7344-0152-3

*cite book
last = Piggins
first = George
authorlink =
coauthors = as told to Ian Heads
title = Never Say Die - The Fight to Save the Rabbitohs (Out of print)
year = 2002
publisher = Macmillan
location =
id = ISBN 9780732911058

*cite book
last = Whiticker
first = Alan
authorlink =
coauthors = Hudson, Glen
title = The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players - South Sydney Rabbitohs
year = 2005
publisher = Bas Publishing
location =
id = ISBN 1920910581

*cite web
title=Rabbitohs Club Records | work=National Rugby League
url=http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/RabbitohsClubRecords/tabid/327/Default.aspx| accessdate=5 May | accessyear=2007

*cite web
title=Rugby League Tables and Statistics | work=The World of Rugby League
url=http://stats.rleague.com/rl/rl_index.html | accessdate=5 May | accessyear=2007

*cite web
title=South Sydney Rabbitohs | work=South Sydney Rabbitohs Official Website
url=http://www.souths.com.au| accessdate=23 December | accessyear=2007

*cite web
title=Sean Fagan's Rugby League History | work=RL1908.com
url=http://rl1908.com/Clubs/South-Sydney-Rabbitohs.htm South Sydney Rabbitohs| accessdate=5 May | accessyear=2007

*cite web
title= Sydney Olympic Park| work= Sydney Olympic Park Website
url=http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/Home_of_sport/home_teams/south_sydney_rabbitohs South Sydney Rabbitohs | accessdate=5 May | accessyear=2007

*cite web
title= Biography| work= Australian Society for Sports History
url=http://www.sporthistory.org/TomBrockbio.htm Tom Brock | accessdate=5 May | accessyear=2007

External links

* [http://www.rabbitohs.com.au/ The Official South Sydney Rabbitohs website]
* [http://www.rebelrabbitohs.com/ Rebel Rabbitohs]
* [http://thepride.250x.com/ The Pride]
* [http://www.nrl.com.au/Clubs/Rabbitohs/tabid/96/Default.aspx/ Rabbitohs at NRL website]


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