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2020 Rabbitohs Rumours, Signings and News

Discussion in 'South Sydney Rabbitohs' started by callmack1, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  2. Peter Quinn

    Peter Quinn Juniors

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    Broncs will find it hard to win a game unless they play their 14th man A. Langer. He tells them where the gaps are, who's limping/tired, what to do where to go and for opposing teams, it's a nightmare seeing probably the best game reader in the business on the other side.
     
  3. Travitoh

    Travitoh Bench

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    You do realise that the man responsible for the Alfie Langer role at Brisbane is now coach of Souths, right?
    The only difference between Alfie doing and the Souths trainer doing it is that Alfie is recognisable.
     
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  4. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  5. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  6. Peter Quinn

    Peter Quinn Juniors

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    That's true. But it is Alfie out on the field, not Bennett. Alf terrifies opposing teams because he's a genuine game reader.
     
  7. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  8. Peter Quinn

    Peter Quinn Juniors

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    There may be a late change to the listed team. I don't know who. :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:
     
  9. CliveC

    CliveC Juniors

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    No surprise there!
     
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  10. assess5

    assess5 Juniors

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    Are you sure 'terrifies' is the word you wish to use? I just don't recall any opposing players or coaching staff trembling in their respective boots.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree, trainers should be restricted to only accessing the field when players are injured.
    But 'terrified', perhaps you should leave the superlatives to the bullsh...ting commentators and their 'talking in clichés'.
    ]
    How many times will we hear 'he's the best in the league' this weekend?
     
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  11. Peter Quinn

    Peter Quinn Juniors

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    Considered changing it, but terrifies is the appropriate word. Every player knows how good Alfie was. It certainly must have had players thinking oh no.... this isn't fair...... what are they going to do now. That's all second guessing, so terrifies got the call.
     
  12. assess5

    assess5 Juniors

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    Players were not even terrified of Alfie when he was playing,I don't think other players are thinking about anything but their jobs according top their play book.
     
  13. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a fantastic article from Andrew Webster,

    Feuds, retirements, signings: inside South Sydney's chaotic off-season

    Out there, in the middle of GIO Stadium before South Sydney’s preliminary final against Canberra, Sam Burgess is gently wrestling teammate Damien Cook, wincing each time the sinews in his left shoulder take the strain.

    Medical staff have needled the shoulder with painkilling medication, just as they have for the last six weeks, but that has taken away none of the pain.

    Earlier, he couldn’t whack into the tackling pads with his left shoulder, only his right. When it came time for the obligatory wrestling drills, he chose Cook instead of one of the bigger forwards.

    Still, it throbs with pain.

    “I’d seen him in pain before,” Cooks recalls, “but that pain was something different. I had never seen him in so much agony.”

    When the players return to the dressing-room for the last-minute instructions from coach Wayne Bennett, Burgess receives more attention.

    Head of football Shane Richardson has been in those rooms more than anyone since Burgess arrived from England in 2010. He knows how Burgess’ pain threshold is higher than almost any other footballer he’s seen, whether it’s playing the entire 2014 grand final with a broken face or another match when Burgess suffered a compound fracture of his finger but calmly asked trainers to tape up so he could keep on playing.

    [​IMG]
    Sam Burgess in the last game of football he will ever play: the 2019 NRL preliminary final against Canberra.

    So, when Richardson sees the Englishman writhing in pain, despite enough painkillers to numb a horse, he’s concerned.

    “Sam has never been like that,” Richardson recalls. “I’ve never heard him whinge about pain in his life. He should never have played that match.”

    But Burgess does, of course.

    “Next thing, from the kick-off, he’s trying to whack into Canberra players with the same shoulder,” Cook smiles. “That’s Sam: he put his body on the line so much. He’s just a different human who will do anything for his mates.”

    Souths’ loss 16-10 loss to the Raiders didn’t just put them out of a grand final. When Burgess was medically retired weeks later, it kick-started a chain of events that had Souths frantically scouring the market for a replacement, saw them secure Latrell Mitchell from the Roosters — and almost cost Richardson his job.

    Burgess’ departure, along with the retirement of John Sutton, which followed the early retirement of Greg Inglis in April, ripped the heart and soul out of the club — yet Souths remains a genuine premiership contender this year, starting with Cronulla at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

    On top of that, the club has announced that Bennett will move on at the end of 2021, making way for highly regarded assistant coach Jason Demetriou, and will now deal with endless speculation for the next two seasons about where the seven-time premiership winner will end up next.

    Remember, this follows the previous off-season when Souths were suddenly scrambling for a seat in the game of coaching musical chairs after Anthony Seibold signed with the Broncos, forcing Bennett to Souths.

    Lesser clubs would’ve buckled, but it shows Souths’ maturity and strength that it hasn’t.

    “We have a phenomenal group of people at the club who have been able to dismiss the distractions over the last two years,” Souths chief executive Blake Solly offers. “It’s a lot easier to be stable at the top when the staff and players are so dedicated and passionate.”

    PLEASURE AND SHOULDER PAIN

    At a meeting of the football department weeks after the 2019 season finished, Souths’ high-performance staff delivered a sentence that sent shockwaves through the organisation.

    “Sam’s got a lot of problems with his shoulder and he's been advised to retire,” they reported.

    Richardson's jaw hit the floor.

    “Let’s get a second opinion,” he said.

    It didn't matter how many opinions were sought. Burgess was done. When he underwent minor surgery on his left shoulder in June during the State of Origin period, the surgeon found an infectious liquid coming from the joint. It had eaten away at the bone.

    The cruel irony was that Burgess had suffered numerous issues with his right shoulder for years. In 2011, he had minor surgery on his left but that was all.

    “The advice was, ‘This is career-ending’,” Richardson says. “I won’t go into the technicalities of it, but the bottom line was he couldn’t get his shoulder above horizontal.”

    [​IMG]
    Shouldering arms: Wayne Bennett and Sam Burgess.

    For the rest of the season, and particularly through the finals series, Burgess played on with the help of painkilling injections.

    “We were thinking we had to find a solution to this in the off-season,” Richardson says. “Then, all of a sudden, we had one anyway.”

    There were three players on Souths' hitlist to replace him: Jai Arrow at the Titans, David Fifita at the Broncos and Luke Thompson at St Helens.

    Richardson met with Thompson in the United Kingdom, but the club’s retention committee baulked at the England international’s asking price. Thompson eventually signed a three-year deal with the Bulldogs.

    In late November, Burgess flew to Brisbane to speak to Fifita while Richardson went to the Gold Coast to meet with Arrow, who was coming off contract at the end of the 2020 season.

    What isn’t commonly known is that Souths were also talking to Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell, who is also off contract at the end of this season.

    In the end, Souths signed Arrow because the asking price for Fifita was too much. While the Broncos are yet to announce Fifita’s re-signing, it’s understood the deal has been struck — the club just needs to find enough salary cap space before registering the contract with the NRL.

    As much as Souths tried, they could not force Arrow out of the Titans a year earlier.

    Speculation then started to crank up about signing Mitchell, who had fallen out of favour with Roosters chairman Nick Politis after he rejected their $800,000-a-season offer to stay.

    [​IMG]
    Latrell Mitchell checks in at Redfern in December.

    Mitchell had been linked to Souths since May. When he eventually signed a week into the new year, it merely confirmed what many had long predicted.

    “Everyone says I lied about Latrell,” Richardson says. “I didn’t know we were going to have $1 million in our cap for Sam, which the NRL eventually gave us. When Sam went down, our first thought wasn’t to get a centre — it was to replace him.”
     
  14. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Continued,

    PAPPAS v RICHO v BENNETT

    There are several pictures on the wall of Richardson’s office in the bowels of Redfern Oval, but one that stands out is of chairman Nick Pappas, smiling and surrounded by fans.

    It’s from 2001 when Souths had won their court case against the NRL and then half-owner News Ltd, which had excluded the foundation club from the competition. A Rabbitohs tragic who would write the competition ladder on the back of his textbooks while at law school, Pappas had done all the legal work for nothing.

    “Of course, there’s a picture — and without darts!” Pappas laughs. “A cross word has never been spoken between Richo and I. If you have a broken relationship, you can’t function. We don’t work that way. We sort out our differences behind closed doors, with all due respect. And someone who has been at that club for as long as him deserves the utmost respect.”

    Nevertheless, the juiciest off-season rumour was that Pappas and Richardson had fallen out because Richardson had re-signed Burgess — and also Inglis — to long-term deals in the twilight years of their careers.

    While their premature retirements didn’t cost the club a cent in precious salary cap space, because the NRL ruled both had suffered new injuries and not aggravated pre-existing conditions, it will cost the club millions of dollars on talent that won't play.

    It’s been reporter that Pappas and the Souths board wanted Richardson’s contract, which finishes at the end of the 2021 season, paid out. Others suggest there’s been tension between Pappas and Richardson since Richardson shocked the board and joined the NRL months after winning the 2014 premiership, only to be returned a year later at the behest of Crowe because of a messy salary cap situation.

    [​IMG]
    Shane Richardson with Latrell Mitchell.

    Getting to the bottom of the fallout is complex.

    Crowe politely declined to be interviewed and all Richardson will say about Burgess’ four-year deal with $4 million is this: “I was told to sign Sam Burgess no matter what.”

    Asked if Crowe needed to step in to save Richardson's job, Pappas say this: “At the end of the day, it’s just an option we gave Richo. And his option was to stay on. That was all dealt with at board level. Russell has two representatives on the board. Two of seven. They communicated his views. We took that into account.

    “Apart from his brief hiatus at the NRL, Richo has tied his fortunes to our club and we respect that. We’ve also got to be ready and have our succession plans ready from when he moves on. When Richo leaves, he leaves a massive hole.”

    It's an excellent relationship. Wayne’s the good guy, I’m the bad guy. It’s perfect. We’ve never clashed, never fallen out.
    Shane Richardson
    Richardson also supposedly fell out with Bennet,t with the recruitment of Mitchell at the heart of it. Late last year, Bennett was dealing with Mitchell’s confidant Matt Rose, while Richardson was negotiating with Mitchell’s manager, Wayde Rushton. Rose eventually replaced Rushton just before the Souths deal was struck.

    Asked to describe his relationship with Bennett, Richardson says there’s no tension.

    “It’s an excellent relationship,” he says. “It’s the same as the one I had with [former coach] John Lang. He’s at the coalface dealing with the players he wants at the club. We talk about everything. We talked about Latrell before Christmas.

    "I said I would meet with him, but you’ve got to understand that we can’t do a [long-term] deal because we can’t fit him into the cap at the moment. He said he understood that. Wayne’s the good guy, I’m the bad guy. It’s perfect. We’ve never clashed, never fallen out. We never had one about Latrell.”

    As for Bennett, he refused several requests to speak for this story.

    “Richo is the boss,” Bennett replied via text. “Quote him. Thanks, Wayne.”

    The absence of a smiley emoji makes it difficult to work out if there’s hidden meaning in the response.

    Just the way the supercoach likes it.

    THIS SEASON

    No player will be under more scrutiny in the opening rounds of the season than Mitchell. For all his natural ability, questions have been raised about his fitness to play fullback at NRL level.

    Cook has spent enough time on Redfern Oval with him over the last two months to safely predict how things will roll.

    “There have been times at training when the defensive side is set and we get a half-quick play-the-ball, and I hit him early and he either throws a cut-out pass to the winger or shows-and-goes himself,” Cook explains. “That’s going to be a try every time."

    [​IMG]
    Damien Cook can't wait to play alongside Latrell Mitchell.

    Two years ago, Cook had become a NSW and Australian representative playing off the back of a set of six that started with Inglis returning the ball on the first and then Burgess later in the set charging through the middle of the ruck.

    Now things are different.

    “I never compare him to Greg, because Latrell wants to be his own man, which I respect,” Cook says. “But he looks very similar returning the ball to GI.

    “I’d rather have Sam playing with just one arm but that won’t happen. We’ve got a young pack. Liam Knight can fill the void left by Sam. Tom Burgess will come into his own without his two brothers [Sam and George, who now plays for Wigan] here anymore. And with Cam Murray on the edge, I don’t feel like we’re losing a lot.”

    Souths are expected in coming weeks to take up their option of a second year with Mitchell in 2021, although don’t expect a four-year megadeal as others have predicted. Both parties want to wait.

    The future of Bennett is already decided, though, after the club brought forward the decision to replace him with Demetriou.

    The move created headlines but, in reality, it was always in the pipeline.

    Bennett, 70, had agreed to the move when he first joined Souths. He only wanted one more season with an understudy at the Broncos, who inexplicably wouldn’t let it happen.

    Now it seems the coach could keep going for years. He’s done nothing to hose down speculation linking him to a new Brisbane franchise. Richardson, whose deal will also end in 2021, has similarly been touted as a future head of football at another club.

    While critics reckon the machinations at South Sydney over the off-season points to chaos, the alternative view is that the club's strength is that it's future-proofed itself so well.

    Its roster remains strong despite the retirements of Burgess, Inglis and Sutton. It's announced it's coach two years in advance. How very un-rugby league.

    "That’s a correct interpretation," Pappas says. "It shows a maturity in our club that wasn’t there before."
     
  15. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  16. Travitoh

    Travitoh Bench

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  17. Peter Quinn

    Peter Quinn Juniors

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  18. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  19. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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