Premiership Odds: (via betting.club): $15.00
South Sydney fought bravely last season in an attempt to defend their 2014 NRL premiership, however petered out and were easy pray for the Sharks in the first week of the finals.
Fast forward to 2016 and the side has a very different look to 2014 with four huge outs, and one monster in via the return of arguably the best forward in the game.
Souths have taken a HUGE gamble on Sam Burgess, but given the way he drove the Bunnies in 2014, it’s one that they had to take. Will it pay off?
Key Player: Greg Inglis
At the end of 2015 one thing looked obvious regarding Greg Inglis, that he needed a break. The superstar number one has been on the go for many years carrying a huge workload for the Bunnies, Queensland and the Kangaroos.
With a rare complete offseason under his belt you can expect Greg Inglis to be back at his destructive best in 2016. When he is at his best there are few better in the game.
Inglis has been one of the best players of the modern era, and his move to fullback helped re-define the role.
Souths, having lost Walker and Luke, will be looking for Inglis to create plenty in attack. It’s something he’s had no trouble with in the past, and I’m not betting against the champion fullback to produce again in 2015.
Young Gun: Cameron McInnes
His 2015 season failed to reach any great heights but there is no doubting the talented number nine’s talent and potential.
Expected to play off the bench as recruit Damien Cook looks ready to take his place in the run on squad, McInnes will have a big part to play this season.
Given he will likely play in the later parts of the first half, he will be looked upon to take full advantage of those forwards who are unable to adapt to the reduced interchange.
Best Signing: Sam Burgess
As mentioned before, the Bunnies have put a lot of their eggs in the Sam Burgess basket, having lost the likes of Walker, Stewart, McQueen and Grant to welcome their English star back.
Although they may deny it, there isn’t a single side in the NRL that wouldn’t want Burgess in their 17 man squad each and every week.
He is a genuine superstar capable of busting defences open on the field and selling thousands of memberships off it.
Souths did what they had to do to ensure their most dominant star returned, however an injury or a below par season will lead to all sorts of questions being asked.
I don’t see the moves made as a gamble, it’s a move Souths had to make. That being said, they’ve really lost some talent in the process.
Strength: Genuine superstars capable of anything
All across the park Souths have game breakers. They’ll likely be dragged into plenty of arm wrestles this season, and it is players like those mentioned above who can win a game out of nowhere.
Adam Reynolds has been on the cusp of Origin selection for two or three seasons now, 2016 could be his year.
Weakness: Over reliance on said superstars
The club has said goodbye to four genuine game breaking stars and despite the brilliant signing of Cook, looks a little weaker on paper than last season.
Goodwin, Auva’a and Gray failed to really make too much of an impact in 2015, with fans taking to social media to express their frustration.
Their forward pack looks strong but to make the eight they’ll need both remaining Burgess boys to play out of their skin.
1. Greg Inglis
2. Alex Johnston
3. Bryson Goodwin
4. Kirisome Auva’a
5. Aaron Gray
6. Luke Keary
7. Adam Reynolds
8. George Burgess
9. Damien Cook
10. Dave Tyrell
11. Chris Grevsmuhl
12. John Sutton
13. Sam Burgess
Stop the presses!!! Someone has dared predict that South Sydney will not play finals football in 2015. I’m sure Souths fans will have plenty to say.
In all honesty, this side could very well chase a top four spot, however it’s hard to look past the amount of talent on their “out” list.
Suddenly their all-star backline doesn’t look quite so scary, while stories of Souths players wanting out just refuse to go away.
Truth be told I don’t look too much into rumours but Reynolds, Keary, Inglis and Goodwin have all been linked with a move out of the club in recent weeks.
If this side fires to its potential, I may well and truly rue this prediction. This is an impressive squad, but I believe there are now eight better sides in the competition.