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2024 Rabbitohs Pre-Season

callmack1

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I believe the boys return to official regular training today so it's a pretty exciting day!!
 

callmack1

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11,709
Hey folks, happy new year to you all!

I don't get to follow things as closely as I'd like to these days and was wondering if there was any thought of Murray moving out wider and having Arrow / Duncan / even Keppie tying up the lock spot.

I think Murray is awesome at 13 but the prospect of having Host or Chee-Kam in the second row makes me limp. Murray has excelled at rep level in the second row and the longer he is on the park the better for us but I acknowledge we lose a bit in the middle.

Would be nice to have another one of him, maybe Duncan will get there.......
Just to weigh in on this debate and add my two cents, it certainly is an interesting dilemma. Well, can we even call it a dilemma? Cam's best position and where he's going to play this year is not being debated or talked about anywhere but this forum. However, it is still an interesting discussion and something that may be spoken about within the four walls of the club at some point this Season.

If you'd asked me this time last year, or even halfway through last Season whether I wanted Cam moved from playing lock, I would've said hell no! However, after the way things ended up for us last Season, the way we were attacking, how burnt out he was and also factoring in how he played for the Kangaroos on the left edge, my view has shifted slightly.

Of course, there's the burnout factor and his longevity in the game that is a concern with the way he plays. I have no doubt that if he continues to play lock the way he does for the rest of his career, he won't last as long as he would if he was out on the edge for the rest of his career. That's in some way a testament to the kind of player Murray is and what he does for us because he's just all out, all effort with no thought of self-preservation. So that's a big plus to playing on the edge.

Another point is that after having a bit of a reflection on the 2023 Season and the way it all ended up, I actually think our attacking structure with him at first receiver is a little overrated and I think Cam's ball playing is a little overrated. While he does do a fantastic job there for the most part and I have applauded him for it many times, I don't think it's a job someone like Arrow or Duncan couldn't do. It's relatively simple and maybe simplifying that part of our attack but having an even bigger threat out on the left edge would be more beneficial.

Also, his play-the-ball speed would cause a ridiculous number of problems for an opposition defence out on an edge. We all know he's one of the best at it in the game through the middle. Having that out on the edge with even less defenders and even more space around him could be lethal. We saw it when he played for the Kangaroos last year, there was probably at least one try a game scored purely because of Cam's quick play-the-ball which left the opposition scrambling. Even if it equates to one try a game or something like that, it's pretty massive and hugely effective.

The area we would lose out is probably the most underrated area of Cam's game, and that's his clean-up work and work rate through the middle. It's absolutely insane when you actually sit back and just watch him for a whole game how much he really does. It's freakish. While someone like Jai is an incredible player, I don't think even he is capable of that sort of effort as consistently as Cam is. Tallis wouldn't be yet either, but I could see him getting there.

So, I dunno, it's a tough one. I'd certainly be in favour of him moving to the edge if it happened, but I'm also not going to complain that it's not happening.

For the record, I don't think it will happen, at least not for the start of the Season anyway and Keaon training on the left edge is probably the biggest indicator that it won't happen. However, things can change in a Season very quickly and if thing start to go downhill again, I don't want another year of JD not making changes. Things can also change in the future, so we'll just see what happens I guess.

Great discussion point though.
 

hunters

Juniors
Messages
1,812
Just to weigh in on this debate and add my two cents, it certainly is an interesting dilemma. Well, can we even call it a dilemma? Cam's best position and where he's going to play this year is not being debated or talked about anywhere but this forum. However, it is still an interesting discussion and something that may be spoken about within the four walls of the club at some point this Season.

If you'd asked me this time last year, or even halfway through last Season whether I wanted Cam moved from playing lock, I would've said hell no! However, after the way things ended up for us last Season, the way we were attacking, how burnt out he was and also factoring in how he played for the Kangaroos on the left edge, my view has shifted slightly.

Of course, there's the burnout factor and his longevity in the game that is a concern with the way he plays. I have no doubt that if he continues to play lock the way he does for the rest of his career, he won't last as long as he would if he was out on the edge for the rest of his career. That's in some way a testament to the kind of player Murray is and what he does for us because he's just all out, all effort with no thought of self-preservation. So that's a big plus to playing on the edge.

Another point is that after having a bit of a reflection on the 2023 Season and the way it all ended up, I actually think our attacking structure with him at first receiver is a little overrated and I think Cam's ball playing is a little overrated. While he does do a fantastic job there for the most part and I have applauded him for it many times, I don't think it's a job someone like Arrow or Duncan couldn't do. It's relatively simple and maybe simplifying that part of our attack but having an even bigger threat out on the left edge would be more beneficial.

Also, his play-the-ball speed would cause a ridiculous number of problems for an opposition defence out on an edge. We all know he's one of the best at it in the game through the middle. Having that out on the edge with even less defenders and even more space around him could be lethal. We saw it when he played for the Kangaroos last year, there was probably at least one try a game scored purely because of Cam's quick play-the-ball which left the opposition scrambling. Even if it equates to one try a game or something like that, it's pretty massive and hugely effective.

The area we would lose out is probably the most underrated area of Cam's game, and that's his clean-up work and work rate through the middle. It's absolutely insane when you actually sit back and just watch him for a whole game how much he really does. It's freakish. While someone like Jai is an incredible player, I don't think even he is capable of that sort of effort as consistently as Cam is. Tallis wouldn't be yet either, but I could see him getting there.

So, I dunno, it's a tough one. I'd certainly be in favour of him moving to the edge if it happened, but I'm also not going to complain that it's not happening.

For the record, I don't think it will happen, at least not for the start of the Season anyway and Keaon training on the left edge is probably the biggest indicator that it won't happen. However, things can change in a Season very quickly and if thing start to go downhill again, I don't want another year of JD not making changes. Things can also change in the future, so we'll just see what happens I guess.

Great discussion point though.
Thanks mate, totally agree with everything you have said. Half expected to get roasted for my original post but thanks to all for simply viewing it as a discussion point!
 

soc123_au

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
18,555
Just to weigh in on this debate and add my two cents, it certainly is an interesting dilemma. Well, can we even call it a dilemma? Cam's best position and where he's going to play this year is not being debated or talked about anywhere but this forum. However, it is still an interesting discussion and something that may be spoken about within the four walls of the club at some point this Season.

If you'd asked me this time last year, or even halfway through last Season whether I wanted Cam moved from playing lock, I would've said hell no! However, after the way things ended up for us last Season, the way we were attacking, how burnt out he was and also factoring in how he played for the Kangaroos on the left edge, my view has shifted slightly.

Of course, there's the burnout factor and his longevity in the game that is a concern with the way he plays. I have no doubt that if he continues to play lock the way he does for the rest of his career, he won't last as long as he would if he was out on the edge for the rest of his career. That's in some way a testament to the kind of player Murray is and what he does for us because he's just all out, all effort with no thought of self-preservation. So that's a big plus to playing on the edge.

Another point is that after having a bit of a reflection on the 2023 Season and the way it all ended up, I actually think our attacking structure with him at first receiver is a little overrated and I think Cam's ball playing is a little overrated. While he does do a fantastic job there for the most part and I have applauded him for it many times, I don't think it's a job someone like Arrow or Duncan couldn't do. It's relatively simple and maybe simplifying that part of our attack but having an even bigger threat out on the left edge would be more beneficial.

Also, his play-the-ball speed would cause a ridiculous number of problems for an opposition defence out on an edge. We all know he's one of the best at it in the game through the middle. Having that out on the edge with even less defenders and even more space around him could be lethal. We saw it when he played for the Kangaroos last year, there was probably at least one try a game scored purely because of Cam's quick play-the-ball which left the opposition scrambling. Even if it equates to one try a game or something like that, it's pretty massive and hugely effective.

The area we would lose out is probably the most underrated area of Cam's game, and that's his clean-up work and work rate through the middle. It's absolutely insane when you actually sit back and just watch him for a whole game how much he really does. It's freakish. While someone like Jai is an incredible player, I don't think even he is capable of that sort of effort as consistently as Cam is. Tallis wouldn't be yet either, but I could see him getting there.

So, I dunno, it's a tough one. I'd certainly be in favour of him moving to the edge if it happened, but I'm also not going to complain that it's not happening.

For the record, I don't think it will happen, at least not for the start of the Season anyway and Keaon training on the left edge is probably the biggest indicator that it won't happen. However, things can change in a Season very quickly and if thing start to go downhill again, I don't want another year of JD not making changes. Things can also change in the future, so we'll just see what happens I guess.

Great discussion point though.
If it wasn't for Yeo, Murray would be the best 13 in the game with daylight 2nd & 3rd. Even as a rabid Panthes fan I would say there is barely a struck match between them anyway. Playing him on an edge full time would be such a waste.
 

speedster

Juniors
Messages
122
Heard a little whisper that playing Murray on an edge is being closely looked at internally with Arrow to 13 which is his best position and he's in the top half dozen or so locks in the game himself.
 

callmack1

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11,709
This article is from the Daily Telegraph,

Latrell Mitchell found himself at the centre of South Sydney’s shock finals fade-out. In an exclusive interview, coach Jason Demetriou believes Mitchell will be front and centre of a Rabbitohs revival.

Fatima Kdouh: Last season you were leading the competition in May. How much did it sting missing the finals?

Jason Demetriou:
It’s still stinging me sitting here talking to you about it, and it will until we start playing again. That fire is driving us all. But we have to focus on the positives. We debuted some real talent last year. At our best, we beat the best teams in the competition. We want to get that back and be consistent.

FK:What have you learned after an up-and-down season in 2023?

JD:
A lot of it for me is about the managing side of things. Whether that be managing through a season or managing staff, managing the team through injuries, etc., reflecting back on that and learning how to stay calm through that season.
I can only reflect on what I can control. Although we did some good things, we fell away at the back end. Making sure we get our plan right and we are able to stick through it.

FK:The Sam Burgess and Latrell Mitchell saga felt like a tipping point in your season. How do you reflect on that period?

JD:
There are things internally that I reflect on and they are things that will stay internal. They are not things I am going to discuss outside of that.
As far as I’m concerned, what happens in our four walls stays in our four walls.
We need to have some protection over that as well, and that is something we’ll be driving this year, and have some pride in making sure we are looking out for each other. Every club goes through issues on and off the field and it’s about how we manage that.
We’ve got some new staff which is exciting, they are fitting in really well. So the culture and the mood in the place is excellent. It’s up to us to keep that going.

FK:Latrell Mitchell is a superstar and with that comes plenty of attention. What role, if any, do you play in trying to manage that?

JD:
He’s a big-name player and sport creates those types of players, whether they be villains or heroes.
Sometimes they are both, and Latrell is obviously one of those.
For us, it’s about how we can control that and bringing it back to the team. Latrell is part of the team. When we communicate, we communicate in a team-first mindset and that’s to make sure we are keeping our mind on the team and protecting Latrell from the headlines that people like to make about him.

FK:There’s been whispers about a positional switch for Latrell from fullback to five-eighth, is there anything in it?

JD:
I’m really excited about Latrell in 2024. I’ve had those conversations with him and it’s about getting him ready for a full season at fullback, which he hasn’t had yet.
He hasn’t trained before early or mid-January since he came to the club and to have him doing the workload he’s doing at the moment, that is going to set him up for a really good season.
People get jobs in the press and I respect that’s (their) opinion. But when you see Latrell day in, day out and see what he brings to the team, people forget our season started going pear-shaped when he got injured.
And that’s not only about what he brings to the team but how the team feels when he is in it. He took a lot of pressure on his shoulders when he was injured, which wasn’t his fault. I’m excited about what he can do but I’m excited about what his teammates can feel him doing during the pre-season, and getting down and dirty with the boys is really important.

FK:You’ve added Jack Wighton to your side, why did you want Jack?

JD:
From the outside, I saw a guy who competes. He’s a guy who is fit physically and he handles the game really well. So I wanted to bring someone with his experience in our outside backs. Isaiah Tass, Campbell Graham and Tyrone Munroe... even Latrell, they are all young. They are all 25 and under, and people forget that.
So to bring in a 30-year-old that has played at the highest level and understands what it takes to get to that level, was important for us.
We hadn’t made a signing for a couple of years. I was keen to get a marquee signing in and when I found out Jack was available, he fit the bill really well.

FK: What’s your positional, and long-term plan, for Jack?

JD:
I don’t have a long-term plan for Jack. I just know Jack is going to make us a better footy team. At the moment, if I was to pick him, I’d pick him at left centre.
I’m going to spend time in the pre-season to see where Jack fits best.
What I love about Jack is that he is committed to play wherever the team needs him to play. For a player of his stature to have that mindset, that rubs off on the rest of the team. He’s got to bring a lot to the team, that before he got here we didn’t realise it was what we needed.

FK: Tell us why you also signed former Manly prop Sean Keppie?

JD:
Physicality, he’s a big middle. He loves the physical side of the game. I spoke about raising the floor, I don’t think he knows where his ceiling is yet and for me as a coach that is exciting to help him mature and come into the best years of his career and hopefully he can do that at South Sydney.

FK:What are you hoping to see from young halfback Lachlan Ilias in 2024?

JD:
For me it’s confidence and the ability to manage a team on the back foot. You only get that through experience. Lachy got the highs of the NRL in the first half of last year but he also got the lows. He’s such a mature kid and a pleasure to coach. He can physically handle the rigours of the NRL.
He’s going into his third year. I want to see him back himself and have a voice and he’s been great in pre-season so far. He’s strong too, so we’re looking at him implementing his running game a bit more and implementing his style on the team, rather than the bloke who just gets the ball to Cody Walker.
I want to see his natural ability come to the fore a little bit. I’m confident he can do that.

FK:Lachlan copped a lot of criticism last year but you came out and very publicly defended suggestions the club was wrong to let Adam Reynolds go to focus on Lachlan. Why did you feel compelled to do that?

JD:
I feel like that about any of the players. I don’t like the spotlight the media, and social media in particular puts on individuals.
I think we scapegoat players too easily. We play a team sport - when we are winning, we share the spoils together. And when we are losing, we should share that low together.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works and I think Lachy is targeted because Adam Reynolds is no longer at the club and that puts a target on a young kid.
But again, I can’t credit Lachy’s maturity in how he handles that.

FK:Cody Walker is another one who attracted some attention. He’s an emotional player, do you think it gets the better of him on the field?

JD:
It’s part of who he is but it can’t come at the expense of his own performance and if it frustrates him and stops him playing the footy he can, he’s such an influential player for us and we love what he brings to the club, but that’s been a work in progress for Cody.
But he’s come back fit, committed and hungry to improve and that’s all you can ask for.
For me too, it’s about staying consistent, level-headed as well, and that will help our players stay in the place as well.
 

callmack1

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11,709
FK:How do you do that, stay level-headed?

JD:
In the back-end of 2020, I got my new puppy Simba and he’s been a godsend. He’s had to listen to me on many of our walks together when I’ve got a bit of steam to let off, a bit of venting to do.

FK:It sounds like I should be trying to get an interview with Simba?

JD:
I’m not sure how much he listens to me, but he appreciates the walk as much as I do the rant.
Look, if I’m being honest, last year was a tough season in the back end and I probably let emotion get the better of me at sometimes. I’m looking forward to rectifying that, so the players know when they put their boots on for the start of the game, they know they are in the fight. If I can do that, I know I have the players in the dressing room to be successful.

FK:You have some real talent rising through, like Tyrone Munro and Tallis Duncan. What can we expect from them in 2024?

JD:
They bring some real talent in what they do in their positions. Tallis sets up a real foil for Cameron Murray as well. His development allows us to play Cam on an edge at times and take some workload out of him, which is a great asset to have and it doesn’t really affect the way we play.
I’ve been looking for a winger who can score tries as well as Alex can, and is fast. There have probably been some decisions recruitment-wise we’ve made in the last 18 months where we could have gone out and got that winger but we have a lot of trust in where Tyrone is heading.
And we have that trust in Tallis. Sometimes it takes time to happen but I’m really excited about their future years at the Rabbitohs.

FK:Who else is coming through?

JD:
We’ve done a good job in bringing through our development players into first grade, and have stayed there. Blake Taaffe, Lachlan Ilias and Peter Mamouzelos were the first to come through and then Davvy Moale.
This year, we have Haiyzn Mellars, who is a big athletic winger. He came down from Queensland, it’s his second year at the club. There is Thomas Fletcher, who is a big back-rower. He’s only 19 and having a great pre-season so far.

There’s little Jye Gray, who’s a halfback. He also came down from Queensland, he was the under-18s captain and a Schoolboys star. He’s a little fella but with a big heart and some genuine speed. He had some injuries last year that stopped him from playing a lot of footy. He’s in our top 30, but they are three players we want to see come through.

FK:Who is primed for a big season in 2024

JD:
Keaon Koloamatangi came back in the best nick he has ever been in, especially off the back of a tour in the UK. Sometimes the buffet can get the better of the fellas.
It was his best return weight yet. For him, it’s about consistency, and getting the little things in the game right. He’s got the big play, he can do the big things.
It’s about being consistent over the 80 minutes and establishing himself as one of, if not the best, back-rower in the game. He has the potential to do that. He’s in for a big season, he looks hungry to establish himself.
 

callmack1

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11,709
Great read really enjoyed it!

Awesome to hear JD come out and talk about last Season and take ownership. Talked about what he learnt and what he himself can do better. That's a leader.

What was one of my other biggest takeaways was that when he was talking about Tallis, he pretty much said they are planning to use Cam on an edge this year at times so that's really interesting.

I'm really excited hearing some of the stuff he said, Of course, it's all talk and we need to see action, but I do think 2024 will be different.
 
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