SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Wayne Bennett head coach of the Rabbitohs looks on prior to the round 12 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on May 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Having lost their seventh game in their last ten starts against the lowly Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, coach Wayne Bennett has since described the bunnies season as “not terminal yet but it’s getting close.”

Having started the year extremely strongly under Bennett winning ten of their first eleven matches, Souths looked set for another strong year inside the top four, with arguably the competitions form halves pairing over the first two months of the season, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker, relishing playing off the back of the go-forward provided by the Burgess boys and Cameron Murray.

However, after a shock round 12 loss to the Eels and the Origin period taking its toll, the wheels have fallen off at Redfern.

“We’ve just lost some momentum – we did at Origin time and it hasn’t come back,” Bennett told NRL.com following the Rabbitohs third loss in a row.

“We’re not playing our best football.”

“We’ve played some good football this year, we wouldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t.”

Seemingly channelling the Dragons after starting the 2019 season like a runaway train before falling away dramatically, Souths have only won three of their last ten games, with one of those victories being pulled out of the jaws of defeat after scoring a last-second try to defeat the Dragons.

While some may be confused as to how the Rabbitohs can go from so dominant to downright clunky within the space of two months, if you peel back the curtain and look at the numbers, it’s quite clear why.

As previously mentioned, since the beginning of the Origin period everything has fallen off a cliff for Souths, with the red and green regressing in every major metric.

On the face of things, Souths are scoring an average of 1.4 tries less per game since round 12 as well as conceding an extra 6.2 points.

While this is obviously not good, with Souths effectively having a 12-point swing in terms of points against, the underlying numbers make for similarly worrying reading and provide better context as to why Souths are now struggling at both ends of the field.

Over the first eleven rounds of the season, Souths tore opposition teams apart thanks to their instinctive attackers, with the likes of Damien Cook, Cody Walker, and Alex Johnston being able to play fast, eyes up football running at a scattered defensive line. They were able to do this thanks to the platform laid by their forward pack, utilising a combination of power and stamina, the Burgess boys would scatter would-be tacklers to all parts while the likes of Cameron Murray and Liam Knight would be the consistent work-horses in the middle third.

This combination obviously proved a fruitful one, with Souths pacey backline and spine thriving thanks to the quite simply incredible numbers being put up by their forward pack.

However, since that fateful game at Bankwest Stadium, the Rabbitohs have had less possession and as a result have been running for an average of more than 100 fewer metres per game, while also throwing fewer offloads. Consequently, this their strike weapons have been stifled, with the bunnies making 1.4 fewer linebreaks per game due to having to contend with a more set defensive line.

While it would be harsh to lay the blame for Souths recent woes squarely on the shoulders of their forwards, particularly with their outside backs being far less affective getting them out of trouble and not sharing the ball-carrying load as they were, if the Rabbitohs big men don’t start winning the battle of the middle again and providing the platform for Walker, Reynolds, and Cook to play off the back of, this sickness that has infected their previously superb style of play could prove to be terminal.

25 COMMENTS

  1. The wheels are off for 2019 like iv been saying for weeks, no team held try-less against the bulldogs will be any threat in the finals. Expect to see Souths knocked out the 1st week of finals.

  2. Bennett does this with every club he coaches, often the wheel fall off after origin and he rarely turns it around.

  3. Injuries and suspensions resulting in $4.5 M worth of rosster unavailable as outined in the media anyone with common sense would realise this as a factor.
    Back2smack19 and EDwooddope (Sybil) conveniently overlook this as his ongoing inferiority complex over Souths lol

  4. Always full of excuses Stephanie. 2 weeks ago you said storm and Souths were favourites to win the premiership now you have started blaming injuries.

    Get off the gear, you can’t even keep your story straight

  5. Trying to say suspensions is the reason Souths are so trash hahaha you your team wasn’t so grubby, they wouldn’t get suspended

  6. Sybil (Back2smack19) I believe you blamed the weather after the hiding Souths gave you in R1 and then Gosford as the excuse for hiding from Cowboys recently only 2 examples.
    Please provide 1 post where you stated the opposition was too good on the day instead of your coward and cry baby excuses after any loss this past 2 years you lightweight.

  7. Iv never made a excuse for any of my teams losses, that just proves how much of a delusional crack head you are. Now your making stuff up to take attention away from that Souths will not finish in the top 4

  8. Mouth from the Souff AKA TwentyONE..(and plenty more by the looks of things on this site). a pretender, just like his stupid team “we’re gunna, gunna gunna” all year. Then it was the refs, now injuries… pull your head in you idiot.. you will feature heavily in my upcoming spray “30,000 Members, 90,000 teeth” any alternative titles are welcome

  9. TwentyOne, you have nailed Edwardtosswad1 as Sybil, craves attention and a sense of belonging, with his 5 aliases, he is attracted to each of them, but none of them like him! Go Figure!!

  10. in regards to zero tackles aliases, i only think Edward is operating 2 accounts at the moment – frankspencer and EdwardWoodWood1. I’m pretty sure Chookstir and Back2Back19 are different people just by the way they write responses. Wouldn’t be suprised if Stan is TwentyOne.

    Good article about South decline. I doubt it will apply for much longer

  11. Its uncanny how all the aliases appear one after the other on the same topic.
    That’s a given. You just know when Sybil makes a comment the next follow not long after.
    If you just reply to Sybil you do to all in 1 go.
    Just a tip

  12. Sybil I suggest you check with ZT before you conclude Stan and I are the same isp address before any unwarranted insults.
    Its very mean and hurtful.

  13. EdwardWoodWood1 i can assure you i am not penso. I am a roosters fan. If you look at every comment i have made about the roosters or souths, i have given honest views about how both teams are going. Sure, i like the rivalry of the Roosters/Rabbidohs, however eventually when you keep reading childish comments about how roosters/rabbidohs are better than the other, and when its obvious that other users are operating more than 1 account, something has to be said

  14. to further back that i am indeed not penso, i have many light of the fact that most of the Roosters junior areas were taken by Souths in the 70’s, something that most Souths fans won’t even acknowledge because it doesn’t fit their anti-roosters narrative.

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