South Sydney Rabbitohs - 2012 Preview
There is only one thing Redfern craves more than a match of Rugby League and that is the right to sing Glory, Glory to South Sydney on September 30, 2012. This club has been through hell and back over the past twenty years and their loyal fans deserve something.
However, just because you deserve something, it does not necessarily mean you will hold the title - you need the team, dedication and perseverance to become the champions of the 30 week long National Rugby League. Will this season be the year they hop from their Crowe's nest into Glory?
2011 was an inconsistent year for the Bunnies as their longest losing streak was just three matches whilst their longest winning streak was only four matches, between rounds 21 and 24. They had a very strong finish to the year but once again, their overall form let them down, as they missed a chance to play finals football once more.
This club has so much potential to win a competition but their performances say otherwise. People seem to forget that this club has the likes of Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Nathan Merritt, Roy Asotasi and John Sutton, all able to change a game at any stage. Obviously, the winning culture lacks at South Sydney and it has done so since their last finals appearance in 2007, but could the Rabbitohs shake the competition up?
Not only do they boast the aforementioned players, Michael Maguire will be arriving as a man who did his coaching apprenticeship under Craig Bellamy, before coaching the Wigan Warriors their first championship in over ten seasons. They also have former Storm and Warrington Centre Matt King. Both of these men are able to bring out the best in the men around them and this could be a key component in playing September matches for this club.
So Rabbitohs fans; will you be singing come the end of the season?
Why they will win it
The Rabbitohs have always been a team with plenty of potential to win the National Rugby League Grand Final. They have assembled one of the best forward packs in recent memories and have plenty of backup. In 2011, more than half of their first choice pack was in rehabilitation at any one time, and their defence was paper-thin as they conceded 23.4 points per match. While they also missed, an average of 39.9 tackles per match, when South Sydney played Rugby League - they played Rugby League. Refern's boys averaged the third best Points For tally with an outstanding 531, beaten only by Premiers Manly and Qualifying Finalists North Queensland. They also stunned the Dragons in one of the best comebacks in NRL history and other teams need to beware: Fully fit and full of confidence - South Sydney can play.
Why they won't win it
For the exact same reason as in the 2011 season. If the same injury toll as yesteryear is met, then it will no doubt end the same - with even more pain. Michael Maguire will not have an easy task by any means; he is in for the long haul. He needs to avoid injuries and nervous juniors, as well as established first graders who have become lazy under Lang. The loss of Chris Sandow may be a factor in a downward spiral and suspensions to their bad boys could rain down in 2012.
Player to watch
Matt King. He will bring his cult like