2024 NRL: Jason Demetriou Sacking By the Numbers

Jason Demetriou’s fate was sealed on Tuesday night as the South Sydney Rabbitohs parted ways with their head coach. Here’s a look at some of the numbers behind his exit and the Wayne Bennett hangover after he departs clubs.

Overall Record

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Jason Demetriou coached the Rabbitohs in 60 matches and recorded 31 wins (51.7% win record). Two of those games came during the 2020 season when Wayne Bennett was struck down by Covid.

Demetriou’s First 20 Matches

South Sydney won 13 of their first 20 matches under Jason Demetriou after he took over the South Sydney head coach role in 2022. South Sydney consistently scored 30 points or more in a game (9 times). Alex Johnston scored 23 tries in those first twenty matches, while Latrell Mitchell was the top point scorer with 96.

Demetriou’s Last 20 Matches

After winning 65% of his first 20 matches in charge, the slide has well and truly been on since May 19 last year, with the Rabbitohs winning 5 of their last 20 matches with Demetriou at the helm. While Alex Johnston racked up an impressive 17 tries, Latrell Mitchell was absent for a majority of this period and only crossed for his only try earlier this year (100th career try) in the last 20 matches the club has played.

Average Margin in Last 10 Defeats

The average margin for South Sydney’s last 10 defeats is 19.9 points. None of their defeats were in single digits with their worst coming against the Sydney Roosters in round 3 this year, suffering a 42-point hammering at Allianz Stadium.

Average Margin in Last 5 Defeats

The average margin for South Sydney’s last 5 defeats is 25.6 points. In round 2 they were beaten by the Broncos with a 10-point margin; followed by the 42-point loss to the Roosters; 30 against the Warriors; 12 against the Sharks in a gallant effort; and finally, 34-points against the Storm on ANZAC Day at AAMI Park.

The Wayne Bennett Hangover

Since 2011 when Wayne Bennett left the Dragons, there has been a noticeable slide in teams performing once the super coach had left each of his respective tenures.

St George-Illawarra Dragons

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Steve Price took over at the Dragons and was sacked after the side’s 18th game of the 2014 season to be replaced by Paul McGregor. Price’s record was 11 wins from 34 games (32.4% win percentage) at the time of his termination.

Between 2012 and 2014 the Dragons won 29 of their 72 matches with their ninth placing in 2012 their best return.

Newcastle Knights

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Rick Stone replaced Bennett as head coach in 2015 and was sacked after 18 matches with six wins (33.3% win percentage).

Danny Buderus was interim coach after Stone’s exit and won two from six for the remainder of 2015.

Nathan Brown took over as the Knights coach next season, and led the club to consecutive wooden spoons, winning 6 games in total during 2016 and 2017.

In the three-year period following Bennett’s exit, the Knights won 14 of 72 matches, with one draw (19% win percentage).

Brisbane Broncos

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It could be argued that the Broncos were the least affected side after Bennett’s second stint at the club. Anthony Seibold took the club to the 2019 finals series, with the club humiliated in week 1 of the finals going down 58-0 to the Eels at CommBank Stadium.

Seibold would be sacked after the Broncos 13th game of the season, winning three games. Peter Gentle took over as interim coach and lost all seven matches as they collected the wooden spoon.

2021 was the first year of Kevin Walters as head coach, winning seven of 17 matches. His job was on the line at the start of 2023, but the club returned to finals footy and went down in the grand final to the Penrith Panthers.

In the three years following Bennett’s exit, the Broncos won 21 of 68 matches, with one draw (31% win percentage).

South Sydney Rabbitohs

The exit of Bennett at the end of the 2021 grand final defeat to the Panthers saw Jason Demetriou step into the big shoes.

2022 was the only time in the last decade where history was made where a former Bennett coached side had made the finals the year after his departure. By mid-2023, the Rabbitohs were flying until unrest settled in and murmurs of players being preferentially treated. This led to the high-profile exit of club legend Sam Burgess who is now Warrington’s head coach in Super League.

As it stands, South Sydney have won 27 of 55 games played since the 2021 decider (win percentage 51%).

Ben Hornby as the interim head coach has a bit of fallout to clean up.

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