2024 Preview: South Sydney Rabbitohs

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Lachy MacCorquodale looks at the chances of the Bunnies headed into the 2024 season.

After a dismal second half to the 2023 season, the South Sydney Rabbitohs are determined to make amends with a return to finals footy in 2024.

Last year, eight wins after 11 rounds wasn't enough to propel the myrtle and green into finals contention, losing nine of their last 13 matches including a last round defeat to rivals the Sydney Roosters in a match that was essentially a playoff for finals.

Souths will be kicking themselves for their second half capitulation, ending their streak of five straight seasons of preliminary final or grand final finishes. A squad that boasts the likes of Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Cameron Murray have no business being outside the eight, and last season will provide fuel for what should be an exciting 2024 for the bunnies.

Now, the Rabbitohs are gearing up for an improved season bolstered by the star signing of Jack Wighton, who is no doubt joining the club in pursuit of a premiership after 12 seasons with the Canberra Raiders. Although, the loss of Campbell Graham for most of the season hurts the Rabbitohs chances of winning, having Wighton in one of the centre spots still provides enough strike power for Souths to be a potent attacking threat, as they have shown in the past. If Wighton is paired on the left edge with Alex Johnston, they could prove to be a lethal force, as the latter chases the all-time NRL try scoring record.

The record chase will provide an additional storyline for fans to cheer on in 2024 with Johnston requiring just four tries to pass Billy Slater in 2nd and 26 to pass Ken Irvine's incredible haul of 212 tries. That won't be the number one aspiration for the 2024 season, yet if Souths' are fit and firing this year, you'd assume that record could be in trouble. All in all, Souths project to have a better season than that of 2023, however, there are plenty of contenders for the top eight this season, with the likes of the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys determined to return to the eight after missing in 2023. That'll make their task challenging, but if this side fires, there's no reason why they couldn't catapult back up the ladder.

Why they'll win it

The Rabbitohs were sitting in 2nd after Round 11 last season, looking certain to be one of the eight teams playing finals football in September. However, their season completely flipped after that point, sliding down the ladder to eventually finish in 9th. The first half of the season showed that the Rabbitohs have what it takes to be a quality outfit in this competition, and it's important to remember that this is a side with plenty of experience during the latter stages of the competition. 

Souths will be hoping to tap into that experience for the 2024 season. There's no doubt that this squad has the potential to finish in the top four. This is a team that is full to the brim with extremely talented and skilful footballers, many of whom have played State of Origin or International football. When they're at their best, the likes of Mitchell, Walker, Murray, Damien Cook and Keaon Kolomatangi, to name a few, are incredibly dangerous and can create points from absolutely nothing. That'll be Souths' focus for 2024. They need to get the best out of their star players, and if they do, they'll be right there with a chance of winning it all at the end of the season.

Why they won't

Their capitulation during the second half of 2023 is worrying. The Rabbitohs won just four of their last 13 matches as they struggled to contain opposition defences. In 10 of their last 13 matches, they conceded 20 or more points, something which opposition sides managed just once in the Rabbitohs first 11 matches of the year. Off-field drama combined wouldn't have helped promote a harmonious feeling around the squad, which may or may not have contributed to their poor form on the field, yet it's concerning that this coincided with their dramatic decline in defensive performances throughout the season.

Perhaps what is more worrying was the Rabbitohs home record in 2023. They were superb away from home, winning eight of 12 matches and boasting a positive points differential of 128, yet at home, the Rabbitohs won just four of their 12 matches, and struggled both with and without the ball. Souths scored 130 less points at home compared to away fixtures and conceded 67 more points. When the recipe for a strong season is based on performing well at home, performing like this makes it near impossible to make the eight. 

Player movement

2024 GainsJack Wighton (Canberra)
Sean Keppie (Manly)
Contracted for 2024Alex Johnston, Ben Lovett, Cameron Murray, Campbell Graham, Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Daniel Suluka Fifita, Davvy Moale, Dean Hawkins, Isaiah Taas, Izaac Tu'itupou Thompson, Jack Wighton, Jacob Host, Jai Arrow, Josiah Karapani, Jye Gray, Keaon Koloamatangi, Lachlan Ilias, Latrell Mitchell, Leon Te Hau, Michael Chee Kam, Peter Mamouzelos, Sean Keppie, Shaquai Mitchell, Siliva Havili, Taane Milne, Tallis Duncan, Tevita Tatola, Tom Burgess, Tyrone Munro
2024 LossesHame Sele (St George Illawarra)
Blake Taaffe (Canterbury)
Jed Cartwright (Newcastle)
Terrell Kalo Kalo (released)
DevelopmentTyrone Munro, Jye Gray (CO), Tallis Duncan
2025 MovementLosses: Tom Burgess (Huddersfield)

Key players

This is a side stacked with players that can win games of football. The two who have done so on a consistent basis for the Rabbitohs are Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker. Firstly, Mitchell is one of the most exciting and exhilarating players in the competition. The fullback has shown his class in club, Origin and International football, and on his day, is one of the best players in the league. Injuries have hampered Mitchell's time at the Rabbitohs, having never played more than 17 games in a season, yet when he is available his influence is evident. In 16 appearances last season, Mitchell scored nine tries and assisted a further 12. Throughout his 64 games with the Rabbitohs, the 26-year-old averages 1.36 tries and try assists per game. If Mitchell can stay on the park for most of the season, he'll be at the forefront of an attacking threat that should get them into the finals.

Secondly, Walker is of similar attacking potency to Mitchell. 24 try assists last year was enough to land him with the fifth most in the competition. The five-eighth also contributed nine tries himself, a solid mark, yet his lowest tally since 2017. Overall, Walker averages 1.31 tries and try assists in his 191-game career with the Rabbitohs, an exceptional average that highlights his ability to be a damaging player with ball in hand. 

These two were integral during Souths' run to the grand final in 2021 and their preliminary final exits on either side. They'll no doubt have to fire again if the Rabbitohs are to pose a threat to the Penrith Panthers quest for four successive premierships. 


There are a few quality players coming through the ranks at Souths, the three of note are Tallis Duncan, Peter Mamouzelos and Tyrone Munro.

All three appeared at some point over the course of the 2023 season with Duncan's seven appearances leading the pack. The 21-year-old backrower was a regular member of the bench throughout the latter stages of the season. In limited minutes, Duncan showed what he brings to the field, averaging 81 metres per game whilst making just shy of 20 tackles. The back rower is expected to feature this season, most likely to start of the bench with the aim of moving him into the 13 as the season progresses. 

Mamouzelos is an interesting one. A hooker by trade, the 23-year-old has made seven appearances over the past three seasons, only two of those coming in 2023. However, a month ago, the dummy-half signed a three-year deal to remain at the club with the expectation that he's the man to take over from the incumbent hooker Damien Cook when the time is right. With Cook still playing quality football, Mamouzelos isn't expected to start this season, yet with the league wide move to two dummy-halves in the 17, there may be a spot on the bench to ease the burden on the 32-year-old Cook, although he'll have to battle Siliva Havili for that jersey.

Finally, Munro is a proper raw talent. The 19-year-old made his debut against the Warriors in Round 18 at centre and scored the first of his three tries for the season. Munro was promoted from SG Ball to Jersey Flegg to Reserve Grade and finally, to the NRL in a whirlwind season for the youngster. The outside back scored seven tries in seven games in reserve grade, before equalling that average with three tries in three NRL games. It remains to be seen whether Munro will start from the get-go, but given the Rabbitohs turnstile on the right wing, there's a spot up for grabs.  

Best 17

1. Latrell Mitchell
2. Alex Johnston
3. Jack Wighton
4. Isaah Tass
5. Tyrone Munro

6. Cody Walker
7. Lachlan Ilias

8. Tevita Tatola
9. Damien Cook
10. Sean Keppie
11. Keaon Koloamatangi
12. Jai Arrow
13. Cameron Murray

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Sean Keppie 16. Tallis Duncan 17. Shaq Mitchell/Davy Moale

2024 fixture list

All times AET (Sydney local time)

PRE 1Sat 8:05pmFeb 17thHSt Geo IllaNetstrata
PRE 2Fri 6:00pmFeb 23rdHSydneyBelmore
R1Sun 6:30pmMar 3rdAManlyAllegiant
R2Thu 8:00pmMar 14thABrisbaneSuncorp
R3Fri 8:05pmMar 22ndASydneyAllianz
R4Fri 4:05pmMar 29thHCanterburyAccor
R5Sat 3:00pmApr 6thHWarriorsAccor
R6Sat 7:35pmApr 13thHCronullaAccor
R7Apr 18-21BYE
R8Thu 7:50pmApr 25thAMelbourneAAMI
R9Thu 7:50pmMay 2ndHPenrithAccor
R10Sat 5:30pmMay 11thASt Geo IllaNetstrata
R11Sat 7:45pmMay 18thHNorth QLDSuncorp
R12Sat 7:35pmMay 25thHParramattaTBC
R13May 30-Jun 2BYE
R14Sat 3:00pmJun 8thAGold CoastCbus Super
R15Fri 8:00pmJun 14thHBrisbaneAccor
R16Sat 7:35pmJun 22ndHManlyAccor
R17Jun 27-30BYE
R18Thu 7:50pm
Jul 4thAParramattaCommBank
R19Thu 7:50pm
Jul 11thADolphinsKayo
R20Sat 3:00pmJul 20thHWests TigersIndustree
R21Sun 6:15pmJul 28thACanberraGIO
R22Sat 7:35pmAug 3rdACronullaPointsbet
R23Thu 7:50pm
Aug 8thHMelbourneAccor
R24Sat 7:35pmAug 17thAWests TigersCampbelltown
R25Sat 7:35pmAug 24thHNewcastleAccor
R26Fri 8:00pmAug 30thAPenrithBlueBet
R27Fri 8:00pmSep 6thHSydneyAccor