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The Bunnies stats in 2017 do not make for fun reading for fans of the club. A 12th placed finish saw them miss the finals by eight points (and points differential) and ultimately saw Premiership winning coach Michael McGuire removed from his post.

Although they only scored 12 points less than the fifth placed Sharks (with 464) they did concede a massive 564 points. This was better only than the sides that finished below them in the Warriors, Titans, Tigers and Knights. No prizes for guessing where most of the off-season efforts will be focused.

2017 wasn’t all bad for the Bunnies, with the emergence of Angus Crichton and Cameron Murray. Unfortunately the club have lost Crichton from 2019 onward but will be looking to ensure the back row is built around their talented 20 year-old.

Unfortunately injuries and lack of form meant that key players such as Cody Walker had to keep changing positions. He jumped between the halves and fullback on many occasions which really upset the balance of the side. Tom and George Burgess could not re-find their top form and as a result the Bunnies engine room often struggled.

Recruitment Grading: B-

In terms of actual game-day squad changes, the Bunnies have lost Bryson Goodwin and Aaron Gray, while bringing in Dane Gagai. On paper that looks a great swap with the current Origin and Kangaroo outside back set for a monster season in the red and green. His combination with Adam Reynolds/Cody Walker and the fit-again Greg Inglis should see some exciting football being played out of ANZ Stadium in 2018 and beyond. There are a few selection decisions yet to be confirmed by new coach Anthony Seibold but it looks like that Braidon Burns will hold onto the wing spot he shared with Gray last season. Over all the inclusion of Gagai improves the squad, although the Bunnies squad was crying out for more changes following a horror 2017.

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Star Player: Greg Inglis

The Bunnies may have only really signed Dane Gagai in terms of instant first grade impact, but they will feel like the returning Greg Inglis is also a new recruit after missing all but one game last season. Inglis sat on the sidelines for the entire season after an injury in round one but looks to have used the time well in taking time to heal both physically and mentally. For the Bunnies to shock the punters this season they really need their main man to fire. His return will complete a brilliant spine of Inglis, Walker, Reynolds and Cook. Souths can build a successful season around their Queensland all time try-scoring record holder but given his struggles over the past year and a bit, they should not expect too much too soon.

Strength: Genuine game-breakers

Inglis, Walker, Reynolds, Gagai, Cook, Sam Burgess. These are names that any NRL side would love to have in their squad. They are all genuine game-breakers capable of deciding a result with a brilliant play when it matters most. Throw in Johnson and Crichton and there is really no reason the Bunnies shouldn’t be in a with a real shout in terms of 2018 finals footy. A lot will depend on how Inglis returns from injury but considering he was won Origin series in the past on one leg, I don’t hold too many concerns for the league legend. Dane Gagai adds an attacking dimension that the Bunnies probably haven’t had in recent seasons.

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Weakness: Inconsistency

That ‘I’ word that no NRL fan base wants to hear when describing their side. Unfortunately it’s a word that sums up the Bunnies perfectly. For all their potential brilliance they didn’t seem to be able to make it click week-in, week-out in 2017, and I can’t see any major reasons why that would change moving into 2018. The Burgess twins can be absolutely destructive on any given day, unfortunately you just don’t know whether or not it will be positively or negatively. Adam Reynolds, at his best, is an Origin footballer. Unfortunately he has been unable to repeat his Premiership winning form as of late. Hopefully Dane Gagai’s arrival will ensure regular strong performances out wide.

Prediction: 11th

For all the brilliance in this side, there just seem to be many gaps to confidently predict a top eight finish.

If Greg Inglis comes back and fires from the start then there is no reason for Souths fans to believe a return to top eight action is not possible, but if he isn’t at his destructive best it’s hard to justify South Sydney finishing about the stronger sides.

Souths should play some exciting footy with Damien Cook set for an 80 minute role in the number nine. His feeding of the likes of Burgess and Crichton should set up plenty of opportunities for Walker and Reynolds.

Unfortunately I just can’t see regular, match-winning performances. They’ll win some games and will be closer to finals than bottom place, but over all they won’t be able to match the pace of the top eight or nine sides.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah Rabbits are starting the rebuild phase, new coach and bringing in new players. Need to have a lucky season to play finals in my eyes, key injuries kill them. If they have some luck they could sneak a top 8 spot but Im highly doubtful. Also have a big yet poor forward pack. Sam Burgess is the only star and Crichton, the rest are average.

    Best player: S Burgess
    Best buy: Gagai
    Finish: 12th

  2. Unknown quality, They have a team on paper that is able to make the eight easy. But with a new coach comes a whole new ball game. Very hard to predict, I know they will not finish 17th. Maybe somewhere between 12-7. I have a news flash that Reynolds will link up with Keary at the Roosters when Cronk retires.

  3. I have said from the beginning that if the Burgess twins can fire up and keep the ball then Souths are a threat to any team , that is the bottom line really, a new coach hopefully will bring a new style of football, and it is imperative that players like Walker stay in his position, last year Maguire shifted him to fullback where he clearly didn’t want to play there, until that time Walker was the leading 5/8 on statistics.

    Holmsey may be right and maybe finish 12th same has the last two years , but i’m thinking we will improve and hopefully scrap into the 8, has long has we beat Easts that’s all that counts, i am looking forward to seeing our crop of young players coming through, by all reports we have some real talent, may the force be with us!!

    • Penso, agreed.

      In all honesty, how silly is that one of the biggest X factors for a FG side is coming down to whether a couple of professional (international rep) forwards can hold the ball?

      But, as per your comments, I think if they (the baggage brothers) can do their jobs, and key players like GI don’t lose too much time to injuries, then it’s strong side and more than capible of making the finals.

      • Eels, I’m hoping that our new coach can bring something different to the table, Maguire made a terrible coaches decision last year when he weakened a position to strengthen another, Walker should have never been shifted from 5/8, but having said that, i just hope that Souths regain their respect in the competition, that is all i am hoping for this season, anything more is a bonus.

        • Agreed. I rate Madge, and whilst I wouldn’t fault him for what he tried during the year, under the circumstances, I think he persevered too long with a few moves.

          Walker was one, but for mine I think the whole Cook / Farah scenario was the stand out. For the record I thought Farah was going to be a great signing for the Bunnies, and I was wrong. That said, the way Madge chopped and changed them certainly didn’t help, and may have actually been the biggest problem. How do you form combos when throughout a season no one knows which hooker to prepare for/plan to.

          I rate Cook, and thought Farah would be his mentor/tutor, so I’d give him (Cook) the spot and use Farah as a backup.

          As for your new coach, well I don’t know. Its a new name, and to some extent at least a change in style, but as per our comments above (we seem to agree), can he get his props to hold onto the ball? Well that shouldn’t really be a coaches job for players at this level, but that’s a priority.

  4. Penso I may go fishing but South West Rabbits of Silverwater have got to chances of defeating the Roosters this season. None and Buckly’s

    • Woodchook, you live and die by your comments , you know as well as I do that no matter where each club sits on the table those games are intense and close, I hope for your sake we don’t beat you cause i’ll remember what you said, i never said that Souths would beat you , just that it feels good when it happens, it just shows your arrogance and over confidence.

    • Why has SSTID-2002 been gaged? If anyone questions zerotackle won’t they be banished to Siberia from a communist dictator leader for speaking facts of one’s own mind? These chat sites need to have the peoples opinions. How else will fans find out that Reynolds from South’s now West of Sydney at Homebush Bay (fact) be heading to the Roosters after Cronk retires.

      • I have tried three times to post a response to Pedro about SSTID and keep getting blocked, let’s see if this goes through, and Reynolds won’t go to Easts he wouldn’t lower himself

      • Woodchook agree with everything you say about this site needing opinions without that there would be no site, basically SSTID has been gagged, he does not no why, we are currently in dialogue with the directors to see what can be done, the main guy who created ZT is in Japan for the next 10 days when he returns we will both be talking to him and hopefully resolve this issue, cause if it cannot be settled than this site may lose up to 20 people.

  5. I know he’ll comment, so SSTID what’s your opinion on Rodwell and Hiroti for this season? I think these are two talented guys who can debut this year, they’ll probably make 20s blues but your 20s side will be talented.

  6. I agree with the article.
    If we continue in the same path as last yr well be lucky to improve on 12th.
    Maguire is gone.
    I say thank god.
    The last 2 yrs he lost the plot and may i say alot of the senior playing squad.
    My prediction is this.
    The twins will.take.it up a notch.
    Reynolds to get back to form.
    Critchton pushing for a mid season move.
    Walker will finally get a full time shot at 5/8 to play hes natural game and Sam is Sam.
    I also think we will have a few of the young guys pushing for a spot.
    This will all click mid yr sometime and well finish strong.

    Let see my opinion about the chooks chances
    Yes strong side on paper .
    Put all eggs in one basket in the top 17.
    Injury hits and they wont hack it.
    Top4 yes
    Grand finalist…no way

  7. It seems that all these media outlets have the Rabbitohs finishing way down the table for some reason.
    Some even as low as 15th?
    The Bookies have us as the 8th favourite in Premiership betting.

    Braidon Burns was mentioned as taking Aaron Grays Wing position?
    Well, last season Gray played mostly at left centre.
    Burns has about the same chance as me of lacing up the boots again. lol

    Campbell Graham is a certainty of playing in Round 1.
    His Position will depend on where GI plays which is not set in stone as AJ has been training at the back.
    Very simple If GI is Fullback, Graham will be left Centre.
    If AJ is at FB then Graham will be the left Winger.

    Richie Kennar or Jacob Gagan will be on the Right wing.

    This is my team for Rd 1:
    01 Greg Inglis
    02 Alex Johnston
    03 Dane Gagai
    04 Campbell Graham
    05 Richie Kennar
    06 Cody Walker
    07 Adam Reynolds
    08 Thomas Burgess
    09 Damien Cook
    10 Sam Burgess
    11 Angus Crichton
    12 John Sutton
    13 Cameron Murray
    14 Tyrell Fuimaono
    15 Mark Nicholls
    16 Zane Musgrove
    17 George Burgess

    • Actually if that is Souffs best team I may have to change my mind on them finishing somewhere between 12th-7th. Probably a battle for the spoon between Souffs, Gold Coast and Wests.

  8. You blokes really need to get down to Redfern Oval and see the boys at training as whatever happened last season has ZERO bearing on 2018.

    Our training is far different, our game plan will be full on attack, It won’t be a boring 5 hit ups and kick.
    It won’t be that boring 2nd man out the back either.
    With Cody Walker’s re-signing to be announced soon, and Cook as our sole hooker expect a far different game plan.
    Here is an early insight for you all, expect George Burgess to be running out wide on our left fringe.
    He will be doing plenty of damage.

  9. I think the twins ball handling will much improve this season now Souths have settled on the one dummy half.I think alot will come down to how Souths start the season to where they finish on the ladder.They really need to jump out of the blocks early and that will be hard with a new coach

    • The ball handling isn’t as bad as most fans think as both look exactly the same, If Tom drops the ball it seems that both get tared with the same brush.
      BOTH have made an error for example.

      The facts are that George only made 5 errors in 2017, there were 191 other players in the competition who made more errors than he did.
      In 2016 he made only 9 errors with 167 other players making way more errors.

      Tom was a little higher with 11 errors for memory in 2017 but he did play 5 more games
      In 2016 I think Tom made the same as George, 9 errors for the whole season.

      Sam Burgess has topped the Souths error count more than any other player but he gets more attention and handles the ball 3 times the amount of most forwards in the game.

      SO Many times there were, “stripping of the ball” that went down as an error when it should have been a Penalty to Souths!

      • From SSTID.

        3hats , scooped you again! asleep at the wheel or waiting for an update on a breaking story like this? at least I don’t pretend that I am Russell Crowe’s golf buddy

        • Cody Walker resigns with Souths until 2020, forgot to add that, thanks for the info SSTID, i would have thought 3 hats would have been all over this.

  10. 1RNZIR, I can cop the criticism for backing a mate up who has been unjustly targeted, but to misspell my name in that manner is offensive , who are you? you sound like a women , probably a person who is screaming out for friends and is jealous that other people have them.

  11. 1RNZIR, stop insulting my name , you are hurting my feelings, it is not good, my saying you sound like a women was cause you do imitate a women who posts here, SSTID has nothing to do with this, you picked on me and insulted me, not happy, back off.

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