Today Rob Crosby looks at the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of season 2017. Can they ascend the #NRL ...
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OUR club depth will be well and truly tested over the next month. The representative season is upon us and with that comes the added burden of covering those missing on higher duties. With our current position on the Wizard Cup ladder, we are a good chance of having quite a few representatives in the City side to take on Country in Cloncurry on June 24. What they make of their opportunity is up to those individuals. Up for grabs is a spot in the Queensland Maroons side to take on NSW in the main curtain-raiser to the third State of Origin in Melbourne on July 5. I know it's a mid-week match, but if we have any state reps they miss the previous weekend's fixture. Added to this mix are injuries and the possibility the Broncos may call on us to supply one or two players for their NRL side during the Origin series. We pride ourselves on our depth and are leading the club championship and some of our lower grades could gain a chance to show their wares.
PROP Adam Starr certainly chose the right match to celebrate his 100th appearance for the Emerald group Dolphins.He reached his ton against the Young Guns at Dolphin Oval late last month. His long stint in Sydney with Easts and Balmain meant it took a while to hit a century for his junior club, but he is an inspiration around the place. He's a great example to younger players with his attitude to the game and the way he looks after his body. He has been club captain and nothing is too much trouble for this great servant of the club.
LAST month we told readers about centre Greg Bourke being on the threshold of making Queensland Cup history. Well, it happened on May 7 at Dolphin Oval when he scored 12 points against Toowoomba to become the all-time highest points scorer in the Cup. The way Greg is playing he will set a benchmark that will prove difficult to attain, especially as players with that much scoring potential will naturally be snapped by NRL outfits. We must not forget that Greg passed the mark of 1030 points set by Damian Richters, one of Redcliffe's great servants.
IT was great to welcome back Mark Shipway into the top side. Hampered by injury since the start of the season, Shippy showed his class in A grade to force his way into the top 17 for the round seven win over Wynnum. He came off the bench into the backrow, but when fullback Ryan Cullen was hurt found himself in familiar territory. Alwyn Simpson went to fullback and we found ourselves down a winger so I alternated Shippy and Mick Roberts out there. For those fans who have a good memory, they know Shippy came to prominence as winger/centre with the Dolphins a decade ago before taking on an illustrious NRL career. To top off his day, Shippy scored two tries on the flank and if we can string a few matches together I'm certain he will be in for a great season.
REPRESENTATIVE honours are one of the main reasons for our code's continued prosperity. It's fabulous that all levels have a chance to gain higher honours and the naming of the South Easts Division A grade side delighted five in our ranks. Winger Kaine Manihera, centre Pat McGill, hooker Scott Gillis, second-rower Richie Russell and prop Dominic Fallini were selected, a reward for their hard work so far this season. All five have been pressing for top grade selection with Kaine finally gaining his chance against Souths Logan. The Dolphins also had eight players in the Brisbane under 18 side in Rhys Cooke, Soloman Fonoti, Jeremy Fuller, Liufau Hala, Adam Marr, Jack Reed, Andrew Rickert, Tamo Tikinau and Jack Webb. As Colts coach Craig Ingebrigtsen said, he expected some of these players to make the step up to Colts by the end of the year. Three Dolphins Colts - David Hala, Joel Romelo and Asher Elemani - made the South East under 17 side for state trials with under 17 player Matt Lennon also selected in a side is coached by Dolphins Queensland Cup assistant coach Paul White.