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2024 Rabbitohs Pre-Season

callmack1

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11,709
A really exciting day for all of us today! It's the first of November which not only means we can officially leave what was one prick of a Season in 2023 behind and start really looking forward to 2024, but our prep for next year also began today. That's right, the 2024 Pre-Season started today, and the boys had their first day of training as we build for what is hopefully a much, much better year.

I believe the players returning today were mostly young fellas and NSW Cup guys, but I do know that Lachy returned today too which is hopefully a massive sign as to where his head is at leading into 2024.

The rest of the squad and the regulars should be back in the coming weeks. In fact, I've heard a few rumours that just about everyone will be back on Monday. I'm talking Trell, Cody, Cooky, Jacky Wighton, Stretch etc. Basically everyone that doesn't feature in any test match Footy is back on Monday I've heard. Is this true? Can anyone confirm? If that is true, I guess that's one advantage of not making the Finals. Everyone gets their break earlier so can return to Pre-Season early. We need everyone back on deck as soon as possible and we need everyone to be 100% committed to getting this Pre-Season right and fixing what needs to be fixed.

Honestly, this is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and important Pre-Season's we've had in a long time. Given the was 2023 ended up, there are no excuses in 2024 and we have to get it bang on from day one of prep for 2024. There is no room for failure this time around.

The redemption arc begins today.........

Jeez I'm excited again!!

 

callmack1

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Staff member
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11,709
South Sydney became the first NRL club to officially start pre-season training on Wednesday, with halfback Lachlan Ilias keen to wipe the memories of last season’s collapse and remove himself from the ever-lingering shadow of Adam Reynolds.

Ilias joined around a dozen rookies and train-and-trialists for a series of sprint drills at Redfern Oval on a cool Wednesday morning.

St George Illawarra will get to work on Thursday, while several other clubs that failed to reach the finals, including wooden-spooners the Wests Tigers, start up on Monday.

Souths were one of the game’s biggest disappointments in 2023. They’d led the competition after 11 rounds before losing nine of their final 13 games to finish ninth.

A lot of the blame was directed at halfback Ilias.

Craig Coleman and Craig Field were two former Souths playmakers who were quick to the criticise 23-year-old.

Ilias was not helped by the fact the man he replaced at the start of last season, premiership-winning fan favourite Reynolds, led the Broncos to a grand final appearance.

Ilias on Wednesday said he had been back in training for a month and was free of both injury and the pressure of replacing Reynolds was something he had quickly learned to live with.

His more immediate concern will be keeping himself ahead of NSW Cup player of the year Hawkins in the halfback pecking order.

“I don’t mind the pressure, I’ve dealt with it my whole career now, it’s nothing new and nothing changes,” Ilias told this masthead.

“Those ‘Reyno’ [comparisons] don’t motivate me. I’ve got my own things that motivate me. I’m not fussed about it.

“I’ll always support our ‘little mate’. He’ll forever be a Rabbitoh. He took control of that Broncos team. Obviously, he was disappointed with the grand final loss, and I flicked him a message after that game.

“The biggest thing I learned last season was to be confident with whatever you do.”

Souths coach Jason Demetriou defended Ilias on several occasions during the season gone and said a playmaker with less than 50 games of NRL experience was never expected to lead the club out of the doldrums.

Demetriou also reminded critics the Reynolds debate was not had in 2022 when the Broncos missed the finals and Souths went within 80 minutes of the grand final.

“People questioning Lachie can question him all they want – I don’t really care what they say, or who says it,” Demetriou said.

“If you’re a supporter of the club, you’ve got a choice to get on [board] and support the club or not.

“He’s a guy who just came into his second year, and he was a guy who led the team to the top of the table after 11 rounds. What happened at the back end of the year, that’s not on a 40-game or 50-game halfback to fix.

“He’s come in today and led the fitness drills. We have a lot of belief in where Lachie is going. We also have a lot of belief in Dean Hawkins who led our NSW Cup side to a premiership.

“We don’t need a halfback. I’ve got two very good ones here. They’ll challenge each other, and that will bring the best out of both of them.”

As for the persistent Reynolds comparisons, Demetriou said: “That’s you guys [the media] talking about it. We weren’t talking about it last year when our former halfback didn’t make the finals.

“Obviously, when we don’t make the finals, and Adam goes on a great run and makes the grand final, it’s a conversation.

“But the conversation has nothing to do with what happened in the back end of the season for us, and it will have nothing to do with what shapes 2024. We control what we can control, and whatever happens outside is irrelevant to us.”

The bulk of the Souths side, including Latrell Mitchell and new recruit Jack Wighton, are expected to commence training on November 13.

Meanwhile, a fundraising lunch will be held for Kyle Turner’s family on Friday, with details to be found on the Souths website. Turner, a premiership winner in 2014, was just 31 when he died in August.

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Rabbits20

Immortal
Messages
41,664
South Sydney became the first NRL club to officially start pre-season training on Wednesday, with halfback Lachlan Ilias keen to wipe the memories of last season’s collapse and remove himself from the ever-lingering shadow of Adam Reynolds.

Ilias joined around a dozen rookies and train-and-trialists for a series of sprint drills at Redfern Oval on a cool Wednesday morning.

St George Illawarra will get to work on Thursday, while several other clubs that failed to reach the finals, including wooden-spooners the Wests Tigers, start up on Monday.

Souths were one of the game’s biggest disappointments in 2023. They’d led the competition after 11 rounds before losing nine of their final 13 games to finish ninth.

A lot of the blame was directed at halfback Ilias.

Craig Coleman and Craig Field were two former Souths playmakers who were quick to the criticise 23-year-old.

Ilias was not helped by the fact the man he replaced at the start of last season, premiership-winning fan favourite Reynolds, led the Broncos to a grand final appearance.

Ilias on Wednesday said he had been back in training for a month and was free of both injury and the pressure of replacing Reynolds was something he had quickly learned to live with.

His more immediate concern will be keeping himself ahead of NSW Cup player of the year Hawkins in the halfback pecking order.

“I don’t mind the pressure, I’ve dealt with it my whole career now, it’s nothing new and nothing changes,” Ilias told this masthead.

“Those ‘Reyno’ [comparisons] don’t motivate me. I’ve got my own things that motivate me. I’m not fussed about it.

“I’ll always support our ‘little mate’. He’ll forever be a Rabbitoh. He took control of that Broncos team. Obviously, he was disappointed with the grand final loss, and I flicked him a message after that game.

“The biggest thing I learned last season was to be confident with whatever you do.”

Souths coach Jason Demetriou defended Ilias on several occasions during the season gone and said a playmaker with less than 50 games of NRL experience was never expected to lead the club out of the doldrums.

Demetriou also reminded critics the Reynolds debate was not had in 2022 when the Broncos missed the finals and Souths went within 80 minutes of the grand final.

“People questioning Lachie can question him all they want – I don’t really care what they say, or who says it,” Demetriou said.

“If you’re a supporter of the club, you’ve got a choice to get on [board] and support the club or not.

“He’s a guy who just came into his second year, and he was a guy who led the team to the top of the table after 11 rounds. What happened at the back end of the year, that’s not on a 40-game or 50-game halfback to fix.

“He’s come in today and led the fitness drills. We have a lot of belief in where Lachie is going. We also have a lot of belief in Dean Hawkins who led our NSW Cup side to a premiership.

“We don’t need a halfback. I’ve got two very good ones here. They’ll challenge each other, and that will bring the best out of both of them.”

As for the persistent Reynolds comparisons, Demetriou said: “That’s you guys [the media] talking about it. We weren’t talking about it last year when our former halfback didn’t make the finals.

“Obviously, when we don’t make the finals, and Adam goes on a great run and makes the grand final, it’s a conversation.

“But the conversation has nothing to do with what happened in the back end of the season for us, and it will have nothing to do with what shapes 2024. We control what we can control, and whatever happens outside is irrelevant to us.”

The bulk of the Souths side, including Latrell Mitchell and new recruit Jack Wighton, are expected to commence training on November 13.

Meanwhile, a fundraising lunch will be held for Kyle Turner’s family on Friday, with details to be found on the Souths website. Turner, a premiership winner in 2014, was just 31 when he died in August.

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At least he mentions Hawkins and those 2 pushing one another. That’s gonna be good I hope for Lachy. Good to hear he’s back at training early but let’s hope he keeps working on that kicking game and long kicking game he can’t be successful for us without that. He’s at 50 games now so as we all know he needs to start stepping up more now is the time.

Lachy will get first crack but the pressure being on is a good thing as Hawko will be pushing for a chance right up his arse.

Of course JD is protecting Lachy I mean I would expect that off him. And of course he has to say we have two very good halfbacks I mean he can’t come out and say they’re just solid and average can he………
 

speedster

Juniors
Messages
122
AFB would be the perfect replacement for Tom. If we could somehow squeeze him in and he was prepared to take a serious haircut to try to win a comp with his junior club…

Can’t see how he squeezes in this year though… but player swaps could occur. Send them Taane and DSF?
 

Rabbits20

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41,664
10. RABBITOHS

Halves
: No.6 Cody Walker, No.7 Lachlan Ilias

Analysis: The Rabbitohs’ starting halves are at the opposite ends of their careers and will both be under plenty of pressure in 2024 for different reasons. Five-eighth Cody Walker turns 34 next season and has now played 191 NRL games since his debut in 2016. Since Adam Reynolds’ switch to the Broncos, Walker is now the chief playmaker and Souths need more from him if they are to break their premiership drought. Walker proved he is still an elite playmaker with a starring role for the Blues in Origin III last year, but Souths need more consistency from him at club level to contend for the title. The extra pressure on Walker is due to the fact halfback Lachlan Ilias is still early in his development and has a lot improvement left in him, particularly with his kicking game. The 23-year-old has now played 51 NRL games and needs to start showing more improvement in his skills and leadership in the No.7 hot seat. Adding to the pressure on Ilias is the fact that Souths went from a preliminary final in 2022 to missing the finals last season and patience is running out. Former Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton is joining the club (on $700,000 next season) as a centre in 2023 after 242 games for Canberra. However, Souths are well stocked at centre with Campbell Graham and Isaiah Tass and if Ilias and Souths struggle early in the year, under fire coach Jason Demetriou may be forced to revert to shifting Walker to halfback and playing Wighton in his preferred position at No.6.

 

callmack1

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11,709

Good read that, great article.

I know, I know, it's just talk. But hearing that from JD does make me think he's had a real hard think about things over the Off-Season and he's going to approach it differently this coming year.

Reading that has made me a little excited even!
 

Rabbits20

Immortal
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SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

Analysis
: The Rabbitohs were arguably the most disappointing team in 2023 going from a preliminary final finish in 2022 and being in first place after 10 rounds only to miss the finals in 2023. An injury to their best player Latrell Mitchell hurt the side’s confidence, but even with him back on deck Souths didn’t look a team capable of going all the way late in the season. Souths are a team that when they are on they look unbeatable, but too often they don’t turn up with the right mindset and they struggle for consistency week to week. The club have bolstered their ranks with the signing of Jack Wighton (Raiders) and Sean Keppie (Sea Eagles), but they have also lost Hame Sele (Dragons), Blake Taaffe (Bulldogs) and Jed Cartwright (Knights). Wighton will provide a point of difference on the edges and give the side more star power. However, the side needs to see improvement from halfback Lachlan Ilias and get more cohesion from their spine in attack to compete for the title. With Cody Walker’s contract coming to an end in 2025, Souths know they need to win a title in the next couple of seasons or they could be set for a rebuild with a new halves pairing when he hangs up the boots.

 

callmack1

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11,709

Certainly going to be a busy Pre-Season trial schedule but I like the sound of it.

Basically the same as 2023 really. Manly on the Central Coast in what I'd assume would be mostly young fullas and fringe guys playing. Then the Charity Shield, but this time in Sydney due to Vegas. I also like that we'll get a NSW Cup trial against the Roosters, that'll be awesome.
 

Rabbits20

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Certainly going to be a busy Pre-Season trial schedule but I like the sound of it.

Basically the same as 2023 really. Manly on the Central Coast in what I'd assume would be mostly young fullas and fringe guys playing. Then the Charity Shield, but this time in Sydney due to Vegas. I also like that we'll get a NSW Cup trial against the Roosters, that'll be awesome.
Will be here before we know it
 
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