The club has not signed any established props or back-rowers to cover the loss of these two club legends and will instead look within to replace them.
During the off-season, Souths signed Gold Coast Titans and Queensland Maroons star Jai Arrow, but due to the Titans reluctance to release him, Arrow will not arrive at Redfern until the 2021 season. Luckily for the Rabbitohs, they have several talented young forwards coming through the ranks to offset the loss of the Burgess brothers and Sutton.
Here are six forwards that are set to take the NRL by storm in 2020:
Bayley is the son of Balmain Tigers legend Paul Sironen and will be hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps of playing for NSW and Australia. Bayley made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers in Round 25, 2017 but transferred to Souths prior to the 2019 season.
Sironen played just three games for the Bunnies in 2019 but will be hoping to add to that tally and become a regular first grader. Bayley is a ball playing back rower, with the ability to play in the halves or at hooker, much like his brother Curtis, who plays for Manly. The injury suffered by Ethan Lowe at the Perth Nines has left a back row spot vacant and Sironen is in a prime position to earn a starting jumper.
Keaon is a wrecking ball who can play anywhere in the forward pack. Koloamatangi has starred for the North Sydney Bears and South Sydney NSW Cup sides over the last two seasons. He got a taste of first grade at the Perth Nines, playing in two of South Sydney’s matches.
Keaon represented the NSW residents’ side in 2019 and has been rewarded for his good form with a contract through to 2021. Koloamatangi has the potential to play representative footy in the next few years and become a leader in the Rabbitohs forward pack. Keaon is a South Sydney junior and will be one to watch in 2020, the club is hopeful he can step up and fill the hole left by John Sutton and the Burgess boys.
Jack came to the Rabbitohs as a five-eighth but has been transformed into a ball playing back rower. Johns starred in the club’s trial win over Parramatta, scoring a try and pressing his claims for a spot for the regular season. Jack is the son of Newcastle Knights legend Matthew Johns, but he’ll be looking to carve out his own legacy.
Johns represented Italy at the 2017 World Cup, playing halfback for the Azzurri before breaking his arm in a pool match against Ireland. Johns will be looking to build on his showing against the Eels and get a spot in Bennett’s 17 for round 1.
Mago has arrived at Redfern to resurrect his career under former coach Wayne Bennett. Patrick has played first grade for both the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys but only has 14 games to his name since debuting in 2017.
Patrick was a Raiders junior, captaining the clubs under 20s side in 2014 and going on to represent Queensland under 20s and the Junior Kangaroos. Mago was given a train and trial contract at Souths and has earned a one-year deal for his efforts during pre-season. Still just 25, Mago will look to cement a spot in the Rabbitohs side and ignite his career.
Hailing from the Southern NSW town of Bombala, Ky was signed by Souths after an impressive display whilst representing Group 16 against the Junior Rabbitohs. Ky is a hard running and fearless front rower who has played for the Australian Schoolboys and NSW under 20s.
Rodwell has been plying his trade in Jersey Flegg and the Canterbury Cup. Despite only playing eight games for the Jersey Flegg side in 2019, he was awarded with the players’ player award. He has been described by General Manager Shane Richardson as one of the best upcoming forwards in the game and will be pushing for a debut in 2020
Amone joined Souths at the start of 2019 after excelling for both the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles and Wentworthville Magpies in the Canterbury Cup. Amone debuted for the Bunnies in round 14 of the 2019 season and notched up five appearances in the red and green.
At 23, Amone is just beginning to hit his stride as a front rower and under the guidance of Wayne Bennett, Tom can take his game to the next level. Having previously played for the Australian Schoolboys in 2014 and the Junior Kiwis in 2016, Amone will be competing for representative jerseys in the coming years.
Each of these six players will play first grade at some stage of the 2020 season and despite the club not announcing any major signings, the clubs forward stocks are loaded with youth and talent. In a forward pack led by Thomas Burgess and Cameron Murray, these six players will all play their part in the Rabbitoh’s quest for premiership number 22.
The club has been criticized for their lack of recruitment in the forward pack, instead opting to load up on outside backs. However, the club’s future is in good hands, and with the addition of Jai Arrow in 2021, Souths will boast one of the most feared forward packs in the league.