The South Sydney Rabbitohs enjoyed a rise back to the finals and answering many expectations to land close to another premiership in 2018 but also build towards a successful future.
2018 Club Record
Competition Points: 34 (3rd place, eliminated week 3)
2018 Player Achievements
George Piggins Medal: Damien Cook
Most Tries: (19) Robert Jennings
Most Points: (211) Adam Reynolds
The Rabbitohs were questioned before the season if their side was capable of returning to the finals but, with the new head coach Anthony Seibold coming in the club was run very professional, making them the season’s most revamped side in the competition. The side was able to remain fairly injury-free throughout the year with only duties for the origin and a patch of outside backs going down it was an impressive outfit every week that Souths put onto the park.
South Sydney was able to claim third place by the end of the season but a lengthy nine-game winning streak in the middle of the draw was what set them up for a strong finish. Many players out of form in previous years and some new coming in to take their spots all contributed to a well manufactured attacking side that became the best in the league. Their left side attacking formations were regarded as the most lethal side in the NRL for 2018 with 19 tries falling to winger Robert Jennings on that left chamber with assistance from Captain Greg Inglis being featured heavily through the year and back rower John Sutton having a vintage year that could be seen as his best in recent years.
Many of the Bunnies best were shifts in the mentality that brought out a simplistic way of playing for mainly the three Burgess boys in Tom, George and Sam. A breaking achievement from taking over from Robbie Farah was the hooker Cook who was the best Rabbitoh of the year taking out Dally M hooker of the year as well as being voted by fans as the best player of the 2018 season. Cook was electric in every match with superb decision-making and his trademark punch out of marker which damaged sides to no end while booking himself an Origin starting spot which found him claim the shield for NSW.
The 2019 season for the Rabbitohs looks bright with only one significant loss in back rower Angus Crichton (Sydney Rooster) it will no doubt be a strong outfit that can push for an even better chance at a premiership title with the return of the majority of the squad but also having that experience of finals for many who had not been there. Barring injuries and no off-field dramas with the halves of the Rabbitohs in Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker firing behind a big forward pack, Cook scheming around the park should be able to find another top-four finish next year and be a big chance of winning the NRL title.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season
No surprises with who our player of 2018 is for the Rabbitohs in what was one of the most outstanding breakthrough seasons for any player in recent years from being a utility bench hooker to a representative Origin and Kangaroo, Damien Cook has lit alight the fortunes of his career but also the sides his played for with every team benefiting heavily from his involvements. The hooker had four tries, seven-try assists and nine line break assists which carved up and took each opposition sides a mountain of work to stop such a damaging player from causing havoc around the middle of the field but also in scoring opportunities. Cook will be a pivotal player in the next seasons for the Bunnies with much of the decision-making out of marker or defensive reads that he produces in crucial moments, he has become a genuine elite hooker that many sides will be wanting to shut down when coming up against Souths.
2019 GAINS AND LOSSES
Corey Allan (2021), Kurt Dillon (Cronulla Sharks, 2020), Matt McIlwrick (Wests Tigers, 2019), Bayley Sironen (Wests Tigers, 2019)
Jason Clark (Warrington Wolves), Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers)