2020 Rabbitohs Season Review

Discussion in 'South Sydney Rabbitohs' started by Rabbits20, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. Rabbits20

    Rabbits20 Immortal

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    I’m assuming you will be doing yours once origin is over...... @callmack1

    I shall start with the outside backs player ratings for mine:

    Latrell: Had a bit of a slow start finding his feet at the back and had a few games with far too many errors and discipline was an issue at fine especially when he was suspended for those 2 weeks it really cost us. Now for the good Latrell kept growing as the season went on and his passing game is sublime and he was second in the NRL for try assists and line break assists before he got injured. His kick returns also got better as the season went on he’d make very good metres starting our sets off on the front foot. I think as the season went on his positional play got better too. Latrell is only gonna get better for mine in 2021. For this season I give him a 7/10.

    AJ: Top tryscorer once again what an achievement. I am so glad we have kept him and he’s staying on unders. His hat trick against St Merge was phenomenal as was his 5 try performance against the Rorters. Things AJ struggled with were sometimes in defence and on kick returns he would go missing and not make the tough metres. I wanna see him bulk up a bit more this off season. For this season I rate him a 6.5/10.

    Roberts: Did not see much of him in 2020 due to his mental health at first and then injury. I don’t mean to be rude here but in his games he did play I have to be honest he was underwhelming. For this season I rate him a 3/10.

    Burns: I think he only played 8 games and in those his defence was an issue and he wasn’t backing himself. Also he wasn’t getting involved in the shit work as much as he should and he had some errors in him too. He did in a couple of games show his potential though and I think he scored a couple of good tries. Keeping fit has been his big issue as we know and the injury toll has no doubt affected his confidence. For this season I rate him a 3.5/10.

    Campbell: Due to Roberts and Burns injuries Campbell got to play centre which he has mainly played coming up through the juniors and boy he didn’t disappoint. Easily his best season yet and he keeps maturing. Most games he was in it all doing the shit work out of our own end he was always there and he scored some great tries and made some big plays in defence. His defence was still a bit iffy at times but much more consistent. I lost count this year the amount of times I said great tough run Campbell or what a step for a try or what a tackle that was crucial...... Unfortunately towards end of year he was playing injured for about a month hence his form went down and then he couldn’t play in the prelim a real shame and boy did we miss him in the prelim. For this season I rate him a 7.5/10.

    Gagai: Easily his best year with us by far he started off well on the wing and his carries out of our end didn’t go unnoticed he was a workhorse getting down and dirty and in defence he improved too and made some trysavers and took a few intercepts. He also found his way to the try line more. Then due to injuries he had to move back to centre and he lifted there as well with high energy and his work rate didn’t go down and he still scores tries. His kick chase was on song and consistently he’d be down there to make the tackle in the corner just after the opposition player took the bomb. He did have a few games at centre though where he got found out in defence with arm grabbing. For this season I rate him a 7/10.

    Allan: Well we didn’t need him til Latrell down and Allan came in and didn’t disappoint. He took a couple of games to find his feet but once he did wow. He was solid and direct on kick returns and his ball playing was very good as was his support play , he also made good metres and did some shit work and found his way to the try line and if he wasn’t doing that he was creating try assists. What let him down was his positional play and he had some errors in him. Was a good back end of season from him though. I rate him a 6.25/10.


    Paulo: Well he was pretty good for us in his first season of first grade, when injuries hit quite early in the season he came in and did a job. Strengths in his game were he as busy on kick returns and getting through tough yards coming out of trouble. He also scored some good tries as well. Things he needs to work on are his defence as he was found out in this department quite a bit and in some games it let us down where he rushed in where there was no need too. At other times after making a good run instead of coming in field he’d go over the sideline and kill the momentum. I guess these are things most young players need to work on as well as his first up contact. For this season I rate him a 5.5/10.

    Marsters: Well it was great seeing him score in his debut game, he has some size about him that’s for sure and there is talent there which we all saw. Things he needs to work on are his fitness including his body shape as he’s carrying too much weight, also his defence as seen in NSW needs work his reads are all over the place, also his discipline needs to improve stopping the silly penalties as well as showing some urgency and commitment in defence. Also doesn’t do enough work coming out of trouble for mine, his workrate must lift. I rate him a 3.5/10.
     
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  2. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Great stuff mate! I was going to do mine once Origin is over, yes. Might start it this weekend though.
     
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  3. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey guys, here is my fairly large Season review (some of you may remember I did one last year) including a Season overview, a look at how we played and our 2020 game model, a look at stats as well as a player by player review. Took me all day but it's just something I like to do.

    Here is my complete 2020 Season review, enjoy!
     
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  4. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Season Overview

    Predicted finish: 6th-12th

    Overall finish: 4th

    The Rundown

    Well, what words can you use to describe 2020, the Season that was? Crazy, hectic, surprising, strange, unexpected, shocking, unusual, unprecedented, the list just goes on and on. Been a crazy year for our mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs. A Season that will forever be etched in history and a Season that will forever stick in my mind as one of the most unusual, rollercoaster Seasons ever. Very high highs, and probably the lowest of lows. I certainly won’t ever forget it.

    Prior to the Season commencing, many, including myself, expected this to be a bit of a re-building year for Souths. We had lost a huge amount of talent in 2019, three of the greatest players of all time in fact to retirement as well as others such as George Burgess and Kyle Turner. This rocked our squad and caused a huge change of dynamics in the team. Even with the signing of Latrell, there was no doubt that on paper, the 2020 South Sydney Rabbitohs looked significantly weaker than teams of the past.

    Because of this, many experts, members, and fans predicted that we’d struggle through 2020. They said that despite having a great backline, our forward pack was weak, and we’d struggle to just sneak into the eight. I saw 2020 as a year where we needed to at least make the eight to call the year a success. As I said, it was meant to be a re-building year. Well, what followed throughout the Season far surpassed everyone’s expectations. Yes, we didn’t make the top four, we finished sixth at the end of the Regular Season, but it was an incredible run to get there when it looked like we weren’t going to make it earlier on. Amazingly, this fantastic run kept going and going through the Finals series and in the end, we gave the Premiership a real red-crack go, making the Preliminary Final, finishing inside the top four and if a few things had gone a bit differently, we may well have competed in the Grand Final. An incredible result really when you step back and think about it. All the guys we lost in 2019, all the injuries we had this year, having our side written off for almost the whole Season, yet, we go out and almost won the bloody thing! It truly is incredible. Therefore, despite just missing out on that Premiership we all dreamt of, I still consider 2020 a roaring success.

    All the talk the last two years had been about how we started those Seasons so well but them seamed to burn out and fade out heading into the Finals. 2020 seemed to be the opposite. We had a really good Pre-Season it seemed, and we bounced into the trials and then Round 1 ready and rearing to go. The opening Round saw a scratchy win and then we went down in Round 2. What followed was complete and utter mayhem.

    The world’s COVID-19 pandemic caught up with us and the infection rate in Australia started to turn horrendously bad. Therefore, the powers that be rightly decided to suspend the Season in an unprecedented move for the game. It was crazy really; we had no idea if the Season would ever restart and we had no idea if the game would ever really recover. Was certainly terrifying times. All players, ours included, were forced into lockdown at their homes. They all had to train at home. In hindsight, I feel that Souths players and staff managed this period really well as most players returned just as fit, yet they hadn’t flogged themselves and gone overboard. Suddenly, the infection rate started to ease, and the administrative leaders of our game stood up, put in a hell of a lot of work behind the scenes, lead the world, and the game was back on May 28th.

    Our restart to the Season was pretty mixed with some very inconsistent results and we seemed to be losing more than we were winning. Injuries started to play their part, the forwards weren’t winning the arm wrestle, we had a hell of a lot of errors in our game and it seemed like the boys just weren’t clicking. We picked up a few good wins, but our losses were all quite poor really. Almost every game we lost was because of ourselves, we were in the fight but ended up beating ourselves. The Season was certainly starting to head south for Souths. The lowest point of the year came in Rounds 10 and 11 for me. It was mid-Season and we lost both those games, games we really should have won. We were limping, had a mounting injury toll and were playing some pretty average Footy to be fair. Sadly, after Round 11, we sat in 10th position and things weren’t looking good. It was looking like all the predictions at the start of the year were going to be right and that we’d find it very hard to get back into the eight.

    Things seemed to get even worse to start Round 12, Indigenous Round, our captain Reyno went down injured. What’s more, we went down 16-0 after about twenty minutes, this was against a Dragons side who were also struggling. But boy, oh boy, didn’t things turn around from there?!! Not only for that game but for the whole Season. Off the back of Cody, we ended up winning that game comfortably and went on a run of five straight wins including a huge, huge win against Manly and another monumental victory over a top four side in the Eels. Throughout this period, I feel like the best thing for our Season was actually Wayne’s two week, COVID break. Wayne returned after that refreshed and that seemed to filter down to the playing squad. We were playing great Footy and our form was completely reversed. Suddenly, the conversation went from “the Rabbitohs are gonna miss the eight,” to “wow, Souths can give this competition a real shake!” I certainly thought we could, especially after incredible results against Manly and Parra. Unfortunately, our Season hit a speed bump in Round 16 with Latrell’s injury, many wrote us off after losing one of our best players for the rest of the year, but we had this fulla, Corey Allan, waiting in the wings who is a pretty handy fullback himself.

    We were charging up the ladder, but the last four game stretch was going to be a big test of were this side was really at as we were going up against the Storm and the Roosters in that time. Melbourne gave us a reality check and a benchmark to strive towards but even then, we were in the contest against them. The boys bounced back well against the Tigers before a shock loss to the 15th placed Bulldogs. That seemed to spark the boys seriously into action as what followed the week after is one of the best things, I’ve ever seen in Rugby League. Everyone once again wrote us off heading into the Roosters game, but I think the 60-8 score line said otherwise in the highlight game of our Season. I don’t really need to cover that; we all know what happened and it was beautiful to say the least. Just like that we finished 6th, were back in the Premiership equation and charging into Finals Footy.

    That form continued into the Finals Series as the boys got through the first two sudden death games with commanding victories against the Knights and then Parra. The Wayne Bennett effect was clear to see, the squad believed they could go all the way and I think our fans were starting to believe it as well. We were all dreaming of an ambush Premiership. This saw us go to the Prelim against Penrith with a big chance to make the Grand Final and we all know how that ended. Didn’t play real bad but just missed our chances and suffered a heart-breaking loss to end the dream for another year. That hit hard, I was shattered. To get that close but not win it was really hard to take.

    Summary

    In the end, I think what really cost us in terms of results throughout the year was our discipline in both attack and defence. I’m not making excuses, we weren’t good enough to win the Premiership, but I still maintain that if we didn’t make so many errors throughout the year, we would have made the top four and would’ve had an even better chance at the Premiership. You look at all our losses, there was never a loss where we were completely outclassed, we were in the contest. Most of those games, we really bet ourselves with so many errors and silly penalties at crucial times. Some people might call bullshit on that, but the results are there to see, I think it’s clear to see that errors especially were our Achilles heel in 2020 for whatever reason.

    It was obviously a tough end to the year as in the end, we really did come close to winning our 22nd Premiership. It took me a while to get over. However, 2020 can certainly be considered a roaring success because I don’t think many sides would have got to where we did considering all the stuff that happened. We proved everyone wrong and even overcame the loss of one of our best players which I don’t think a lot of sides would be capable of doing. That’s why I consider this year a success.
     
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  5. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Game Model

    Attack

    Our attacking game model this year was very interesting. Wayne and the coaching staff tweaked it further from 2019 and we evolved. This was mainly down to now having a star, ball playing fullback in Latrell (and Allan later on). Towards the back end of 2018 and 2019, opposition defences had figured us out and we became predictable. However, Wayne, JD and Hornby ensured that was not going to be the case this year.

    We saw little tweaks like giving both halves, particularly Cody, more freedom to roam and play what’s in front of them. Cody has done this to an extent in previous years, but I can’t remember a Season where Cody has popped up on the right so much and vice-versa with Reyno on the left. It just made our attack that much more unpredictable. Having good ball playing fullbacks helped with that too.

    Latrell added a whole new dimension to the attack. He took pressure off Cookie, Reyno and Cody because there was now an extra ball player out there, that allowed all of them to focus on their roles more and just do their bit without doing too much. We also kind of saw a ‘GI effect’ with Latrell. What I mean by this is that GI had such a presence that defenders would watch him like a hawk and number up on him. When he was used as a decoy, this would suck defenders in, in case he got the ball which in turn, creates space for others. Latrell has the same effect and we saw that a lot this year.

    Honestly, the way we were attacking from Round 12 onwards, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more exciting Souths side attack wise. We played with such flair and skill; it was brilliant to watch when we were on.

    Have to give credit to the amount of go forward our forwards provided us though. It was unexpected as most thought they’d really struggle but they were able to dominate or at least hold their own in most games.

    An area I think our attack could be better in is obviously hugely minimising our errors (which I spoke about before). But also, a plan B when the opposition is jamming. Particularly when we’re coming out of trouble, if the opposition was flying off their line at us this year, we’d still quite often go one off the ruck and get hammered resulting in less go forward. This is where we need to pass wider to get past those initial flying defenders.

    But yea, our attack gets a huge pass mark for 2020. Scoring the most points in the comp, of course it would! We weren’t the best defensive side, but the potency of our attack almost covered that because we could still out-score the opposition.

    Defence

    The defence was another Achilles heel in 2020, won us plenty of games but also lost us a few games. I guess what I’m trying to say is that our defence was very inconsistent throughout the year. We had games where it was like a brick wall, just brilliant and no one was getting through. Then there was plenty of games were our potent attack would fire and that’d be enough to win, yet, we’d still concede twenty points. However, we also seemed to have some shocking defensive games where the structure was all out of whack and the boys didn’t seem willing to put their bodies on the line. The consistency of our defence is a big area that needs fixing moving into the future.

    Something else that annoyed me was the real lack of line speed in general play this year and I can’t understand why. A lot of the time, the defensive line would take a few steps forward and then wait. This real lack of line speed gives the opposition a lot more momentum because it is more likely to result in a fast play-the-ball, not to mention the fact they’ve been gifted a few easy meters. Line speed becomes even more important under the new six-again rule. I just can’t understand why we never had much line speed.

    Another area we lacked in this year was wrestle in the ruck. That’s self-explanatory. You look at the Penrith and Storm, the two best defensive sides, they seemed to be able to wrestle easily and with ruthlessness, we seemed a bit soft in that area at times. Again, under the six-again rule, if you can slow down the ruck as much as possible without conceding a six-again, it goes a long way to victory.

    Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t a bad defensive side this year but I feel that there were just a few things that prevented us from being a great defensive side. Even under this new era of great attacking Rugby League, defence wins Premierships after all.
     
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  6. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Player by Player

    Forwards

    Tom Amone: Heading into 2020, I was hoping this was going to be a real break out Season for Tom. He had the size, he had the skill, he had the power. In his couple of games early in the Season, I thought this was looking to be the case as he showed great signs. However, a cruel injury in Round 6 against the Warriors sadly ended his Season. I’m a bit saddened we’re not retaining him for 2021 to be honest as I think he has huge potential.

    Tom Burgess: 2020 has been the first year of Tom’s NRL career without his brothers by his side. That meant that leading into the year he really had to step up and become a leader within our pack. Man, he delivered big time! This Season has been the best of Tom’s career and he is currently in the form of his life. This year is the fittest he’s ever been, and it certainly showed. He monstered opposition forward packs with that classic Burgess bash game that we know, and love and he led from the front all year. 23 games throughout 2020 with an average of 27 tackles per game and 146 meters per game. Those are really good numbers. Not only that but he has cut his errors way down which helps massively. Here’s hoping Tommy can keep this form rolling into 2021.

    Jed Cartwright: Jed came to us mid-Season and I thought he’d be just a depth signing but after a few weeks, he had found his way onto the bench. I have to be honest; he didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but he wasn’t too bad either. He always put in effort and proved to be a versatile player when injuries hit as he is able to slot into the centres or the back row. Jed has fit in well with the boys it seems and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he develops. He needs to step it up, especially now that Sironen is gone.

    Damien Cook: I love Cookie so hate to be harsh on him, but this Season hasn’t been his finest. Thankfully, such is the class of Cookie that even when he’s playing average, he’s still up there with the best in terms of influence on our games. He especially struggled after the competition’s restart. The new rules were predicted to suit Cook to a tee, but it proved to be quite the opposite. He almost put his running game away in the early parts of the Season which hurt us a lot. Probably the worst part of Cookie’s game early on however was his work when we were attacking at close range. In this area, he seemed to be trying to do too much which saw him hesitate, provide slow service to the halves and the attacking play would die more often than not. His continued use of crash plays was infuriating too. It did take it’s time but eventually, his form did start to turn around and this coincided with the teams form as a whole turning around. He started to simplify his game, think less, run more which paid huge dividends. He fixed his service from dummy half and by the end of the Season at the most crucial time of the year, he was back to the old Damien Cook we know and love. He ended up running for the most meters of any dummy half in the comp with just under 100 meters per game and he proved to be a match winner in our first two Finals games with a couple of runaway tries. His defence all year has been top notch, averaging 47 tackles a game! That’s pretty incredible! So, a mixed Season for Cook. He deserves a rest and let’s hope he can improve and have a more consistent 2021.

    Kurt Dillon: Not too much to say about Kurt as he only played one game this year in which he was quite solid in without doing anything special. Certainly, didn’t let the team down. Congrats to him on his debut this year, thank him for his time at the club and I wish him all the best in the future.

    Jack Johns: Similar to Dillon, he only played one game for 2020. This was his debut game (congrats to him) in Round 11 against Canberra. We were beaten that night, but Jack played pretty well. I would have liked to have kept him now that Bayley is gone but you can’t keep them all and I back the club’s decision. All the best at the Knights Jack.

    Liam Knight: Interesting year for Knighty. After a breakout 2019 Season in which he established himself as a really quality impact forward, we all thought he’d continue to develop and flourish in 2020. However, for whatever reason, this didn’t quite turn out to be the case and I don’t think he was as good as last year. I’m not saying he had a really poor Season, but he certainly didn’t go as good as we all hoped/expected. It was just inconsistency. He’d have a really good game where he’d have a big impact off the bench but would then follow that up with a poor one. This was the story of Knight’s Season. It was his ball handling that has really gone backwards I’ve found. I lost count of how many times he’s made and error or given away a penalty that has cost us this year. Hopefully we can see a big improvement from him next year, I know he can do it because he’s a good middle forward who has just had a bit of an off year.

    Keaon Koloamatangi: What a year for the young Souths junior!! A scratchy start in his debut game but he never looked back after that. Turned out an amazing Season for a rookie, honestly amazing. It was like every run he had was going to be the last of his career, so he gave it absolutely everything he had. More often than not he’d make massive post contact meters and carry on with multiple defenders hanging off him. He is so strong. One of the reasons for our forward pack’s surprisingly great form this year has been our bench. In years gone by, we have lost a bit of impact once guys like Burgess and Tatola have gone off but that was not the case this year with guys like Keaon stepping up and maintaining the rage and stepping up big time. I have huge wraps on this kid as I’m sure the rest of you do.

    Ethan Lowe: A bit of a tough Season for Lowey in what ended up being the last of his career. He looked off the pace right from Round 1 to be fair, really struggled to make an impact and his work rate seemed to drop significantly from previous years. With no disrespect to Ethan, I was surprised he stayed in the side for so long. Sadly his year and career was ended in Round 10 after that crusher tackle against the Knights.

    Patrick Mago: A player who kind of came out of nowhere and to be fair, 2020 with us was probably his last shot at first grade. He came to us at the start of Pre-Season on a train and trial deal but was obviously impressive as he earnt a contract and ended up having a significant bench role in the middle of the year. While his fitness needs to be improved so he can play longer stints, I was always impressed with him whenever he was on. Similar to Keaon, his strength is amazing. Really looking forward to seeing how he goes next year; he’ll be pushing for a more significant role no doubt.

    Cameron Murray: We all know the type of player Murray is, an absolute superstar. Once again, his class shone through in 2020. It was a bit of a rough start to the Season as he tried to adapt to his new edge role but once he was moved to the more comfortable lock position, he was back to his best. Tried his guts out all year and was one of our best forwards. Even in games where he didn’t have as big of an impact, his effort was still always 100%. Perhaps an under-valued part of his game was his ball playing which progressed even further this year. He often tips on, reloads then takes the next carry, by doing this he gets his defender isolated and then also puts him in two minds the next time he takes the ball up. Cam’s play-the-ball remains the quickest in the game and some of his stats this year make for good reading. 23 games, 39 tackles per game, 104 meters per game with 30 offloads throughout the year. Another classy Season from Mr Arousal.

    Mark Nicholls: Nicho was one of my biggest surprise packets of the year. Criticised last year for making no impact on the game and being a bit of a flat track bully, Mark certainly did everything he could to ensure that wasn’t the case this year. He wasn’t even in the side for the opening Rounds but obviously forced his way in through hard work and never looked back. Having no impact was certainly not an issue for Nicho this year as he came off the bench for most of the year and was great for us. Did his job to perfection and never let anyone down all year.

    Hame Sele: Another surprise packet who came out of nowhere on a train and trail deal, Sele has certainly re-invigorated his career in 2020. Like Keaon, he’s a massive reason why our bench this year was so good as he’d come on and just go all out. Full of energy and full of running. I loved his impact off the bench this year and I loved watching him play. Was sad to see his injury interrupted by injury but he can be proud of everything he’s done since arriving at our club. Can’t wait to see what he does for the Red and Green jersey in the coming years.

    Bayley Sironen: Once again, another young forward who has come on leaps and bounds. Got to admit, I didn’t have super high expectations of Sirro leading into 2020 but he certainly proved me wrong. His development this year has been massive as he went from depth player to starting second rower week in, week out. A no frills player like his father but he’d never let you down and he proved that this year. Ran hard, tackled hard, that was his mantra. Struck up a great combination with the guys on that left edge too. I’m pretty gutted he’s leaving to be honest.
     
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  7. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Jaydn Su’A: Has to be up there with the most improved players in the NRL this year. Jaydn had that right edge spot locked down pretty early on and he never lost it. He became a shining light in our pack with his aggression both with and without the ball becoming a real strong point. Some of the hits he put on in defence this year were spine tingling that’s for sure. Throughout the year he also became a really dangerous attacking player who would not only get through plenty of hit ups and eat up plenty of meters but would also be a threat close to the line. Without him, I honestly don’t think we get as far as a team as we did, such was his influence and impact in 2020. Significantly, his form was rewarded this year with a well-deserved State of Origin debut which is awesome. Awesome year Jaydn, let’s do it again next year!

    Junior Tatola: No doubt a career best year for Junior as he continues to just get better and better each year. He was Tom’s partner in crime throughout the Season as he continues to mature as a footballer and as a front rower. He is becoming a real leader within our forward pack as he once again stepped up in 2020 and lead from the front. His minutes increased but the quality of his outputs in all his stints certainly didn’t as he’d cart the ball up time after time whenever he was called upon. He played in almost every game this year and ran for an average of 122 meters throughout his 21 games. His defence went up a notch this year, averaging 27 per game with an average tackle efficiency of 93.7% which is equal best at the club for 2020 alongside Cookie.
     
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  8. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Backs

    Corey Allan: Well who would have thought he’d end up having such a big impact on our Season? After Latrell went down, the haters were back out saying our Season was over and that there was no way we could win without him. But up steps Corey. It took him a few games to find his feet no doubt but once he got going, it was amazing. His running game was strong on kick returns and he didn’t shy away from doing the hard yards to get us out of trouble. He also proved to be a dangerous runner in attack with good ball. What surprised me most though was his ball playing ability. It is very, very good which meant we didn’t have to alter our attacking style too much, Corey could still be that link fullback that Latrell was. Things to improve for Corey is certainly his defence and positional play at the back. These areas of his game certainly weren’t bad, but they were found wanting at times. Still, I have no doubt that without him, our Season would have been over after Latrell went down, but the way Corey played put us in a position where we almost won it, such was his impact.

    Braidon Burns: Really tough year for Burnsy. He was rewarded with a starting spot but in the eight games he played, he really struggled out there at left centre. Defence was a big issue as it seemed like he didn’t trust the defenders around him which saw him make plenty of poor reads which lead to tries. There were calls for him to be dropped, it was that bad. A bit of a shame to see his Season ended very early with that horrible knee injury but he’ll be back next year with a lot of work to do.

    Troy Dargan: Not a lot to say about Dargz as he only played two games in Rounds 3 and 4 to fill in for Cody. He was a good, solid half though. Has a good temperament and is an old head on young shoulders. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make the impact we were after however and the attack really struggled while Cody was away.

    Dane Gagai: I’m gonna say this was a career best year for Gags also. He has been criticised in the past for poor club performances, but you certainly can’t say the same about Gags this year as he was probably our best outside back. Shifting between wing and centre didn’t matter to him, the effort was always there. He gave 2020 everything he had in every game. He would never shy away from taking the tough runs and his work rate in this area was honestly huge, it cannot be underestimated how much he helped our go forward this year. It was not only that but with clean ball he was dangerous too, his tackle breaking ability is strong and as a result, he found his way to the try line more often. What’s more, a huge improvement in Gagai’s game was his defence. It looked very shaky last year but has been awesome this year. In addition to his club form, he shone (as always) at Origin level too. Great year Gags!

    Campbell Graham: I feel like I’m saying it a lot, but Graham is another player who had a career best year. Found a home in the centres finally and he proved why that is his best position. He was a standout in the outside backs all year with his running game. In fact, there were only two games this year where he didn’t run for at least 100 meters, that’s pretty crazy, super consistent. He scored 13 tries in 19 games (including 10 in the last 7) and made 13 line breaks in a real break out year attack wise. Defence still needs improvement with Cammy. His first half of 2020 defensively was really good but after that injury thanks to Josh Reynolds in Round 9, he didn’t seem to have it together in defence for the rest of the Season so that’s an area he can be better in. Still, one hell of a Season.

    Alex Johnston: What a crazy year AJ has had! Despite his long service on the wing for us and the fact he’s a Souths Junior, he was told by the club he wasn’t wanted for 2021. So, all year he was effectively playing for a contract. This seemed to bring out the best in him in terms of his try scoring ability. He’s one of the best finishers in the game and that was proven yet again in 2020 as he became the NRL’s highest try scorer for the year. That is an amazing achievement and one that we should all be proud of. His running game in terms of the tough runs and kick returns was found wanting a bit this year, as was his defence but I am so glad the club decided to re-sign him in the end!

    Steven Marsters: Came to us this year as a depth signing and it seems like he filled that role pretty well. It sounds like Wayne gave him the stern word earlier in the year to sort his stuff out and to Steven’s credit, he did that. He showed his hunger and determination to put in the effort. Thus, he was rewarded with a first-grade debut in Round 15. He played a few games after that and I have to say, while he wasn’t perfect, he exceeded my expectations. Hoping to see him continue to develop in 2021.

    Latrell Mitchell: Our star signing for 2020. I was super excited when Latrell signed here. So many except a few Souths fans wrote him off before a ball was even kicked and said he would never make a successful transition to fullback, they all said he wasn’t a fullback and that he’d fail. Therefore, Latrell had a lot to prove this year. It took him a while to get going no doubt. New club, new teammates, a new position, struggles with fitness and a lot of outside noise. There was a lot for Latrell to overcome. But his story is one of my favourite stories of 2020. It’s inspirational because he did overcome all of that. Slowly but surely, he did. He got better and better every game and he ended up being massive for us. Such a threat out the back. I loved watching his ball playing and some of the stuff he was doing out there just left me in awe. He was second in the NRL for try assists and line break assists and was starting to absolutely kill it before he got injured. I remember that Round 16 game against the Eels was the game he really announced himself and put the NRL on notice which is why it was such a shame he got injured. As well as Allan did, I feel that the way Latrell was going, if he didn’t get injured, we could have done anything. So excited for his return in 2021!

    Jaxson Paulo: Another player I never expected to make their debut at the start of the year but through injury, he got his chance and did a great job all things considered. He’s a big boy so is a strong runner of the ball and he proved himself to be a pretty good finisher. Needs to work on his defence and his aerial contests for the ball though. No doubt he’ll be in the mix for a wing spot in 2021.

    Adam Reynolds: Now a big leader at the club, Reyno had a career best year in his maiden year as captain of this great club. Struggled early in the Season but once he rediscovered his running game, he proved to be one of our best for the rest of the year. Without him as our little general, we would be stuffed. Reyno was enormous in all areas of his game. His ball playing was better than years gone by as he was creating so many opportunities every game for those around him through a fantastic combination with Cody Walker and his defence for such a small guy continued to impress. We all know how good his kicking game is and it was on song yet again all year in 2020, both short and long. That proved to be the difference in many games, most notably in Round 14 against the Cowboys where he put on a kicking masterclass. It wasn’t just his general play kicking that was on in 2020, his goal kicking was also amazing. A goal kicking percentage of 86% is simply outstanding and who could forget the greatest goal kicking masterclass of all time from him in Round 15. All these factors lead to Reyno becoming the NRL’s top point scorer for the first time in his career. Massive congrats on the career best Season skip, well done.

    James Roberts: A sad Season for Roberts. He had the best Pre-Season of his life and was set for a huge 2020, all the signs were there. However, the suspension of the Season really screwed him over. Because of that, his mental demons returned, and he never really recovered. He did eventually come back and play a few games for us, but I have to be honest, he was very underwhelming for those games. Sad how it worked out, but it is what it is. I genuinely hope he can get himself right and do well at the Tigers next year.

    Cody Walker: What a Season it ended up being from Cody! He started the year a bit rocks and diamonds with inconsistent performances but that all changed in Round 12. Cody has proven so many times that when he is playing well, the rest of the team will follow. That was the case in this game, and it led into the rest of the Season. In that Round 12 game, after Reyno went down, Cody stood up, carried the team on his back and ended up playing one of the games of his life. From that, his confidence was back and man, oh man, he was in blistering form for the rest of the year, blistering form. He played the best Footy of his career. His form reached its absolute peak in Round 20 against the Roosters, I’ve never seen a better individual performance from a player before. It was that good, I don’t even know how to describe it! What a year from Cody, when he is on, he’s the best player in the comp and he was at the back end of the Season no doubt. 20 games, 10 tries, 19 try assists, 15 line break assists and he averaged 100 meters a game. He was rewarded with a return to the State of Origin arena and it was so great to see him play so well in Games 1 and 2. What a Season Cody! Let’s do it again next year!!
     
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  9. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Conclusion

    And there we have it, my 2020 Season review!! That took a long time, so I hope you enjoy.

    So, yea, one crazy Season that turned out pretty remarkable! Ended with another Prelim loss but that just goes to show how bloody hard it is to win a Premiership! I am so proud of all our players and staff, so proud. We did so well in 2020 considering. Hopefully we can go even better in 2021!!

    So that’s me officially signing off on the 2020 Season, I guess. Time to switch focus and look towards 2021. Good timing with Pre-Season beginning and the 2021 Draw coming out next week. Next year is a huge opportunity and I can’t wait!!!

    Glory, Glory!!
     
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  10. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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  11. Rabbits20

    Rabbits20 Immortal

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    Brilliant review Callmack I enjoyed it all as usual, you’re very gifted mate in your writing you sound like an author!
     
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  12. callmack1

    callmack1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Nonsense!!! I'm no author! :)

    But na, thanks bra, appreciate it! Are you gonna finish yours?
     
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  13. Rabbits20

    Rabbits20 Immortal

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    I will bro just haven’t got around to it yet.
     
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