Rugby League 2021 Rabbitohs Pre-Season

PortRabbit

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You must be joshing!! Alex Johnston to "battle" it out for a spot?? The man has scored OVER 100 times and excluding bodily breakdown he could end up being one of the games greatest ever scorers. Johnston was I recall the first scorer against the Bulldogs in October 2014 correct?? To put a never won anything sluggggg like Mansour ahead of HIM... you must be intoxicated!!
He might score a lot of tries but he also lets in quite a few. So AJ scored first against the Dogs in 2014, so what? He also scored first against Penrith in last year's PF only to drop a sitter of a bomb 3mins later and let them back in. So the net result of his achievement was 0. And no, I don't put Mansour ahead of him. There's a reason Penrith have told him to look elsewhere. Having said that, there's also a reason why he has played SOO in the past and AJ hasn't.
 
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callmack1

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Rabbitohs Stat to Fix - Slow starts: https://www.nrl.com/news/2021/01/12/rabbitohs-stat-to-fix-slow-starts/

Gotta admit this isn't really something I've thought about before but now that it's come to light, it seems obvious haha. So many games last year we'd concede first and/or start slow. Certainly needs to change this year, we can't be playing catch up Footy to start a game all the time if we want to be a genuine Premiership threat.
 

Southy

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Rabbitohs Stat to Fix - Slow starts: https://www.nrl.com/news/2021/01/12/rabbitohs-stat-to-fix-slow-starts/

Gotta admit this isn't really something I've thought about before but now that it's come to light, it seems obvious haha. So many games last year we'd concede first and/or start slow. Certainly needs to change this year, we can't be playing catch up Footy to start a game all the time if we want to be a genuine Premiership threat.
Agree callmack, I'd love to know what the reason for the slow starts was?
.
 
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pure steel 111

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He might score a lot of tries but he also lets in quite a few. So AJ scored first against the Dogs in 2014, so what? He also scored first against Penrith in last year's PF only to drop a sitter of a bomb 3mins later and let them back in. So the net result of his achievement was 0. And no, I don't put Mansour ahead of him. There's a reason Penrith have told him to look elsewhere. Having said that, there's also a reason why he has played SOO in the past and AJ hasn't.
You can have dopey Mustard all day and night. I'll take the guy who has WON a GF and who will eventually become one of THE greatest scorers in NRL History. And no I'm not blaming Alex for the Penrith melt down. Don't forget Barrie, the team was absent BOTH Mitchell and Graham two enormous absentees. Do you factor this in at all? Probably not.
 

Rabbits 21

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At training the other day Arrow was out apparently with a minor hammy/hip flexor issue.

Right side was Su’a, Reyno, Campbell and Mansour.

Left side Koloamatangi, Cody, Gags and AJ.
 

Rabbits 21

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Premiership or bust as Latrell returns in star-studded backline: Rabbitohs best 17
NRL PREMIERSHIP

Mark St John




Coach Wayne Bennett is in the last year of his deal at Souths.
Coach Wayne Bennett is in the last year of his deal at Souths.1280×720



Coach Wayne Bennett is in the last year of his deal at Souths.Source: News Corp Australia

South Sydney will be one of the premiership favourites heading into 2021 with a strong and deep squad, devastating backline and master coach Wayne Bennett leading the way.
The Rabbitohs have one of the most settled sides in the competition on paper and have plenty of depth should injuries strike.

Given the strength of their team the Rabbitohs were not overly active in the player market, but they have added representative players Jai Arrow and Josh Mansour, who will provide plenty of experience and strike power.

Souths have parted ways with a number of stars, including James Roberts to the Tigers, Corey Allan to the Bulldogs and Bayley Sironen to the Warriors, but it is hard to see any of them making the starting team if they were still at Redfern in 2021.

Joseph Suaalii’s defection to arch rivals the Roosters could prove costly down the track, but given he is no guarantee of playing in 2021 due to the NRL’s eligibility rules, the 17-year-old will likely not be a massive loss this season.

Coach Bennett has stood down from State of Origin duties with the Queensland Maroons in a bid to focus solely on the South Sydney premiership charge, which is a good sign for the club.

The biggest question mark will be how Bennett fits locks Cameron Murray and Jai Arrow into the same starting side.

Both Murray and Arrow’s best footy has come at No.13 and moving Murray to the second row last season blunted his attacking game with the increased defensive workload.

Most likely Murray will start at lock, but will spend time on the edge to give Arrow a chance to play his preferred position and to help with the bench rotation depending on the game situation and the opposition.

The Rabbitohs have made three preliminary finals in a row, but have lost all three and will be hoping to break their hoodoo and make a first grand final since 2014 when they last took out the title.

Given the depth in their squad, the Rabbitohs have what it takes to go all the way in 2021 and in Bennett’s last year at the club it is premiership or bust for Souths.

Josh Mansour signs for Souths


Josh Mansour signs for Souths

THE STRENGTH

Star-studded backline. It is hard to believe one of the best attacking backlines in 2020 has gotten better, but the Rabbitohs have done just that.

The return of Latrell Mitchell from a long-term hamstring injury will add another dimension to Souths’ attacking game which still smashed the Roosters 60-8 without him last year.

That is a scary proposition alone, but the addition of former representative star Josh Mansour has made the South Sydney backline arguably the most complete in the NRL on paper.

Souths now have five current or former Kangaroos in their team in Mitchell, Alex Johnston, Dane Gagai and Mansour, while Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker have represented the Blues in State of Origin and Campbell Graham was only denied a NSW debut through injury last year.

There will be some growing pains as Mitchell and Mansour come into the backline, but given the class of all seven players it is going to be fun to watch when they click.

Expect plenty of tries for the Rabbitohs in 2021 and Reynolds has to be favourite to win the point-scoring title given the amount of conversions he is likely to get.

THE PRESSURE IS ON

Wayne Bennett and Jai Arrow. Master coach Bennett enters the last year of his deal at South Sydney and possibly his last in rugby league as a head coach.

Bennett’s record speaks for itself having won 533 games in the NRL and a record seven premierships, but his last title was 11 years ago with the Dragons.

That is a long time between drinks for Bennett who has lost the 2013 preliminary final with the Knights, the 2015 Grand Final with the Broncos and the last two preliminary finals with the Rabbitohs since last tasting premiership glory.

The knock on the 71-year-old is that his old-school style is outdated, particularly when it comes to the big end of season games where defending strongly and completing your sets doesn’t always lead to premiership success these days.

Bennett needs a bit of luck with injuries that has eluded him in recent seasons, but he also needs to let his brilliant backline chance their arm in the big games and not just play percentages.

Arrow was targeted by Souths as an ideal replacement for Sam Burgess, which puts plenty of pressure on him before a ball has been kicked.

With Cameron Murray in the team, Arrow doesn’t have a clear path to his preferred position and will need to be flexible in playing on the edge and in the front row just as Burgess did.

The 25-year-old gives the Rabbitohs the size and power to match it with some of the bigger packs in the NRL, but he needs to work on his consistency from week to week, which wasn’t always there at the Titans.

If Arrow can produce what he did for the Maroons last season on a weekly basis at club level then the Rabbitohs will be a scary proposition for opposition sides.

But if he can’t adjust to his new role then the Rabbitohs pack could be a little disjointed.



Coach Wayne Bennett is in the last year of his deal at Souths.
Coach Wayne Bennett is in the last year of his deal at Souths.1280×720



Coach Wayne Bennett is in the last year of his deal at Souths.Source: News Corp Australia

THE RISING STAR

Keaon Kolomatangi. The 22-year-old debuted last season and was a revelation off the bench for Souths to help with a mid to late season injury crisis.

Kolomatangi was impressive in 14 games in his first season in the top grade and was a metre-eating colossus when he came on.

The young gun provides the Rabbitohs with a point of difference off the bench and has the power and strength to provide a platform for Damien Cook to open up opposition defences when they tire at the end of each half.

The next step for Kolomatangi is to add an offload and passing game to his repertoire, which will make him near on impossible to contain.
 
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