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2024 Rabbitohs Round 1 - Vs Sea Eagles

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14,292
I was surprised at the lack oif running from dummy half by Damien Cook, especially in the second half. He just seemed to be content to pass without ever looking like he wax goingto run. That enabled the Manly defence to key on the first receiver defensively.
 

Thumper

Juniors
Messages
442
I was surprised at the lack oif running from dummy half by Damien Cook, especially in the second half. He just seemed to be content to pass without ever looking like he wax goingto run. That enabled the Manly defence to key on the first receiver defensively.
Can’t run from dummy half when your forwards aren’t getting over the advantage line. No mungrel at all.
 

BotanyBorn&Bred

Juniors
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2,031
Can’t run from dummy half when your forwards aren’t getting over the advantage line. No mungrel at all.
Exactly.
He was very threatening in the 1st half, but like you said, the forwards weren't going forward in the 2nd. And 3 dropped ball in your own 20, for 3 tries is guaranteed to keep you on the back foot.
 

BotanyBorn&Bred

Juniors
Messages
2,031
Very disappointing first game. Kenner is not an a grade centre, Tass was horrendous also. Moale’s error after we got the lead back was the momentum killer that changed the game.
Agreed.
Just speculating but I don't think Tass has recovered from the rib or chest injury he picked up in the Charity Shield. And he copped another hit in the same area today, and you could see he felt it. This could be another Campbell Graham thing, where Tass a becomes a passenger for most of the season.
 

BotanyBorn&Bred

Juniors
Messages
2,031
Souths are in massive trouble. Strength and conditioning is way off the pace
I'm sure Cody is still carrying that calf injury, Arrow got battered in the first min, wasn't the same and copped a few more later on, no way Tass is 100% he looks like another Campbell Graham, carrying a rib or chest injury from the Charity Shield, and Tatola with the big cut on the cheekbone didn't help
 

Hellray

Juniors
Messages
600
I know this didn't affect the outcome, but I got no idea what the point is having Host in the 17. He has never been an impact player, in this game he didn't even get on the field till around the 55-60min mark, and offered absolutely zero. Don't know why Tallis Duncan wasn't in the 17.....
I agree host offers very little off the bench as an impact player. Either Duncan needed to be there or a dynamic utility to bring some spark off the bench.
 

callmack1

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callmack1

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Travitoh

First Grade
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5,186
Thinking with hindsight, hopefully our performance was the result of being underdone as a result of first grade only playing 1 trial.
 

Steenson123

Juniors
Messages
550
Demetriou is now 4-10 in his last 14 starts.
That is a win rate of under 30%.
In 7 of those defeats i.e, 50% the squad has conceeded over 30 points, far too much for a side as talented as this! This poor stretch has included average squads such as Canterbury, Parramatta, Canberra, St George, Newcastle, and now Manly.
In addition he has continued to play slugs such as Kennar and Havili, both of whom would struggle to make a good Reserve Grade squad. Have absolutely no idea why these people are still on the roster. And why Walker is continually allowed to punt left footed fairy floss balls that HELP the opponent!
More disturbing is this fact. Demetriou in almost SIX seasons here has failed to develop any young talent. What has he been doing? Where has he been? You still relying on...Richie Kennar??
Further he sacked Sam B. Bennett loved Burgess and so too did long time Manly supporter Peter Peters who both stated their love of Burgess. Again this has to be a cross against Demetriou.
When a side constantly concedes far too many points there is a schism, a poor connect between Coach and players. Demetriou should be sacked. The squad is collapsing. I would give Hornby a shot and get him to bring in someone like Ryan Carr who seems to have aggression and juice. I would also relieve Murray of the Captaincy. He has no charisma and no desire to chastise any player for errors. Give that title to either Walker or Mitchell it may make them reduce their reckless turnovers and give the team some real leadership. At least some FIRE!
 

Steenson123

Juniors
Messages
550
I agree host offers very little off the bench as an impact player. Either Duncan needed to be there or a dynamic utility to bring some spark off the bench.
You both are correct. Havili too is hopeless as is Moale. The bench should include Duncan he makes errors but at least he brings aggression and some pace. I cannot comprehend why every commentator praises Moale and claims how good he is going to become. To me he has been a total bust, he offers very little and seems to be content just to meander around. Moale has had near three seasons and he has done almost Zero.
 
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Steenson123

Juniors
Messages
550
Every genuine supporter of the club should prepare for even worse to come in the immediate future. The Demetriou-Murray Coach/Captaincy link has failed. Their is no defense and zero desire to play hard for the full contest. That is on the Coach and the man is simply not up to First Grade Coaching. Brisbane had no interest in Demetriou he hid under Bennett for years then this club decides he is the guy. Yet Demetriou has no smarts at all. Mamezoulos and Hawkins deserve a start, at least interchange Cook with Mamezoulos and let Hawkins dominate the kicking game it is awful at present. A 1-2 punch with Cook-Mamezoulos could provide a real spark, especially as defenses fatigue. The fact that Demetriou refuses to make such positive ADJUSTMENTS [Not Kennar!], despite the team sinking, shows just how dumb the man is.
My Bench would comprise the following:
Mamezoulos/Cook
Shaq M/Tom B. I would start Shaq if he is available.
Duncan
Keppie/Tatola.
The club has extended Mamezoulos yet he never gets a game in First Grade. Give he and Hawkins a shot at #7 they at least have earned the chance. And remove the Captaincy from Murray.
 

callmack1

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callmack1

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I watched the replay today and I don't feel any different to how I felt straight after the game yesterday. No better, but no worse. Jeez there's a lot to unpack though! I'm currently writing my match report, the first of 2024 and am about halfway through. Will post tomorrow night and give my full thoughts on everything and everyone.

 

Souths Till I Die

First Grade
Messages
5,964
I dont think its time to panic yet. we are missing 3/5 of our first grade backline and you could see the impact that had on our left edge defensively there was no communication at all. I feel bad for Kennar because he just lacks the lateral movement for the modern game but is a great runner of the ball and i know he tries hard.

I thought we showed some real slick offence on Sunday and i reckon we will be hard to stop once we have our full squad. Manly will be a top 8 side this year potentially pushing top 4 so we dont need to write off Souths just yet.
 

callmack1

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11,793
Here’s my match report for Round 1, 2024 against Manly. It's a big one!

Overview

I still maintain what I said in my initial reaction after the game, that we actually played really well for about 50 minutes and honestly, after watching the game a second time, I think that we were overall the better team throughout that period. Of course, there was times Manly would look good and get a bit of momentum, but I just think for the most part, we were the better side. After absorbing the really good opening two sets from Manly, the boys really stuck to it and dialed in. It looked pretty good. Not perfect of course, but it was pretty good. We only trailed for about 10 minutes of this period, the rest we either lead or broke even with the Sea Eagles.

Of course, that all fell apart in the last half an hour and from there it was a complete collapse. We went from doing very well to looking absolutely diabolical, pretty much in like three sets. A complete and utter capitulation of spectacular proportion which was simply not acceptable and honestly, the boys should be embarrassed by it.

This is what makes this opening game of the Season all the more disappointing for me, the fact that we were looking pretty good and if we just kept that up for 80 minutes, we probably win and everyone is saying “wow, Souths are looking good.” It was extremely disappointing.

Attack

I don’t really have any problem with our attack overall. In fact, it looked pretty good apart from one period of the game there. Upon second watch, I think our forwards did pretty well in terms of yardage for the opening 50 minutes. There weren’t many sets in that part of the game where we didn’t make good meters which was great! In fact, there was several sets where the boys just poured down field and looked hard for Manly to contain. So, yea, no massive issues with our yardage game for the most part. Throughout this period, we also only made a small number of errors. We were completing well and getting to the end of our sets quite nicely.

We scored five tries in the game, so you can’t really criticise our offense too much. Five tries in any NRL game is very good and should normally be enough to win you the game. The tries were all fantastic and they were all scored in different ways. It was really good to watch and we actually looked potent at times. Certainly more crisp than at times in 2023. This is why I was so pumped after AJ’s try because I was really thinking “we’re on here, we’re back.” But it wasn’t to be.

Our defence was the biggest area that turned to shit with half an hour or so to go, but our attack also completely died with it. I know this is down to fatigue but we just didn’t look like doing anything. Once again, a lot of uninspired one-out running that really, got us nowhere. No one really tried to play catch-up Footy or take some risks. No one really tried to do anything. We looked stuck in a ‘process’ but the process simply wasn’t working. Lots of silly errors crept in, we showed a complete lack of respect for the ball, and it honestly felt like the boys just couldn’t complete a set at all out there. It’s extremely worrying because all of this stuff which plagued us last year. It’s nearly the exact same things. It was just so disappointing.

Defence

Watching live, I really didn’t think about how much of a mixed bag our defence was because all the good stuff was overshadowed by our poor last half an hour of Footy. Upon watching the game again, I have realised that there certainly was a lot of good stuff to our defence before they fell away.

I’ll start with the good stuff. For mine, coming out of Round 1, I have no issue with our actual defensive structure defending the line, at least not in this game. By this I mean when defending our line, Manly didn’t actually beat us with a really good set move, our get around us with a really well executed play or anything like that. They threw a lot of set plays at us, but we defended most of them and turned them away. I believe Manly’s tries were all individual errors in defence (which I’ll get to shortly), rather than a break down in our defensive structure. I’m not trying to say our D was good in that last 30 minutes, far from it. I mean, we concede 24 points in that period, which is just unacceptable, I’m just trying to point out that it wasn’t due to an actual breakdown of our defensive structure which is a little bit of a constellation.

I was happy with our goal line defence for the first 50 minutes. Really happy. Honestly, Manly threw so friggin much at us during this part of the game, but we turned them away on many occasions. Some cracking try savers from guys and our scramble was particularly impressive. The boys were certainly turning up for each other. The defensive highlight was not conceding off that Saab break where Lachy made the ankle tap. The effort to turn them away there was amazing. There was a couple of other occasions where we showed real effort and desire to get back and stop them. It was awesome and I thought the boys were showing that we were a different beast in terms of defence this year. We conceded one legit try and one try off an intercept which is our own doing.

That’s why I’m so angry and disappointed to just completely fall apart like we did. How the hell do you go from defending pretty well to completely crumbling like we did and giving up almost a point a minute?? It’s a lack of resilience and a lack of mental toughness in my opinion. It’s like they all just thought we had the game tied up when we went up 20-12 and they coasted. You can’t do that at NRL level, and I thought the boys would’ve learnt that from last year. Honestly, from the moment Davvy dropped that ball, the defence was complete paper towel stuff. All of Manly’s tries were really soft and looked way too easy. They were all tries that at this level, should not be happening consistently. As I mentioned earlier, apart from manybe Garrick’s, all the tries we conceded were down to individual defensive lapses. A lack of physicality, a poor read, a poor effort, whatever, a lot of them should’ve been stopped but the boys were just extremely poor. It’s alarming because we talked all Pre-Season about defence, but this period of the game looked like 2023 all over again. It was the same issues as last year and once again, we ended up conceding over 30 points. It’s a real worry and not a good sign at all.

Even when we were defending better, I still wasn’t 100% happy with our general play defence. I thought the line speed wasn’t very good and we struggled to trap Manly down their end with a good defensive set. The kick chase was also found wanting more often than not. These are big areas of improvement.
 

callmack1

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Player-by-Player

Mitchell: What a start to the Season individually for our star! He was absolutely fantastic. Certainly, our best player the other night and probably his best game for us since Round 11 last year before he was injured. Right from his first touch, you could tell he was on because he just ran straight over the top of Jake Trbojevic who’s one of the best defenders in the game. Then, I think his second touch, he ran over Croker in even more brutal fashion. That’s the kind of stuff we want to see. His running game throughout the whole match was really good actually and you certainly can’t accuse him of going missing or not doing anything because he was in everything. I was happy to see him not fob the ball off to wingers and take some carries himself. That’s what we need from Trell. In good-ball attack, he was absolute dynamite and had a hand in a lot of our tries. The first one was a bullet pass for Gagai’s try. It looked simple but it was not easy to do I’m sure. Instead of going through the hands, Latrell summed it up very well and delivered a peach of a cut out ball to get Gagai some space and he did the rest. Great play. Later, it was something different from him to score our first try of the first half. This time, it was just pure power as he stepped off the right foot close to the line and ran straight over the top of two defenders to get the ball to the line for a statement try. That’s prime Trell right there! I loved seeing that. The other bit of brilliance from him was for AJ’s try minutes later with those lightning quick hands that he executed perfectly. Brilliant!!! He was our main threat out there. On another note, I was happy with him defensively and his positional play was alright. If it weren’t for those two errors he made, and the intercept, it’d be a near perfect game. This is a very ominous warning shot from our man if he can turn up and play like that in the first game. It’s not often we have a poor loss but he leads the way and is a standout. The challenge now will be to make sure it’s not a one off just because it was in Vegas on the big stage.

Johnston: AJ had a really good individual game too I thought, didn’t do anything wrong. It wasn’t a standout game for him by any means but he was very, very solid. I was actually pretty impressed by his carries and kick returns as they were quite strong. Many times, he showed us a bit oof late footwork and made good meters. Great finish for his try and he didn’t notably get beaten defensively despite covering Kennar’s ass. Safe under the high ball as well. He could have possibly done more for Garrick’s try but that was hard to defend.

Kennar: It feels weird saying the guy who scored two of our five tries was our worst player out there, but in this case, it’s a bang on assessment. Richie started great. He had a really strong 20-meter carry on a shift coming out of our own end, and then scored the first try. This was a great angle run from him as he went straight for a gap and proved unstoppable which was great to watch. His last try (although he probably should have passed to AJ and he’s lucky he scored it) was also very nice. But sadly, for us and Kennar, that’s where the good stuff ends. The rest was just awful and not up to first grade standard. It all started with that ridiculous penalty for taking Turbo our before the ball came down. I lost my shit when he did that because stuff like that is simple to get right and it changed the game. At that point, we were starting to turn the screws and put some real pressure on Manly, but that penalty relieved everything, and they marched up the field and scored. He was also responsible for one of the errors which started the onslaught against us. That was poor. Defensively, he struggled so much. You could see he had a target on his back, and he couldn’t keep up as he constantly got bet and burnt. He looked slow and his lateral movement was really bad. Moreover, for such a big guy, a lot of his runs were piss weak and he got dominated. By far our worst player and while it’s not all his fault, he was a big contributor to the loss. No way should he be playing in Round 2; we can’t carry him.

Tass: I thought Tassy was also really poor. Probably one of the worst games of his career. His carries were so soft and weak, I don’t think he won a contact with the ball once. He just seemed to run really soft which is disappointing. He was defending exceptionally well in tandem with Gagai for a while there. For quite a while in fact but he undid all his hard work with two poor reads which lead to tries. The first of which was Croker’s try. Here, he over chased from marker and went the complete wrong way which isolated Cam and it was too much. The second was the Ben Trbojevic try. He inexplicably gets drawn in on Koula when Lachy had him covered and this left Gags all on his own against a bigger man. Poor game Tassy.

Gagai: One of the bright lights on a tough night for sure! What a debut!! I’m so happy for him. Firstly, and almost most importantly, his defence was outstanding! Like, really good. He stopped just about every manly raid and just about nothing got past him which was impressive. He looked really composed there. He did struggle to stop Burbo for that try but that one is on Tassy for mine, Gags did everything he could. His kick returns and hit ups were pretty strong and he held his own there. Man, oh man, what a try too!!!! Trell put him into some space but Gags still had a lot of work to do and it was a beautiful little jink and put down to beat Paulo. Well done Gags, looked right at home.

Walker: Really disappointed in him as he had a very average game and seems to have carried his poor form from 2023 into 2024. Cody hasn’t had a good game for us since the one in NZ last year and it’s starting to become a real concern. He needs to do better. As a senior player, one of our leaders and one of our main men in attack, this sort of form is just not acceptable. Honestly, I can’t remember anything of not that he did in this game, apart from a couple of good kicks and the ricochet off DCE in the lead up to our first try. We really needed him to step up and he didn’t, I’m not happy with him.

Ilias: Jeez he’s copping it after the other night, but seriously, why??? Lachy had a good game! One of his best for us in a little while, it was very solid. I really don’t understand why he’s copping it for this game?? He was fine! I get some people are saying a solid game from Lachy isn’t good enough anymore and we need more which he’s not necessarily showing, I get that, but I’ve seen some people bag him for this Round 1 game and that is just ridiculous. His kicking game was decent enough. I noticed his kicks had more depth to them and more hang time which is a good sign. He was constantly landing the ball in the 10-15m zone in Manly’s end which is what you want, and I can only really remember two bad kicks, so that’s improvement, credit where credit is due there. Defensively he was outstanding again which we have come to expect from him. That ankle tap on Saab was particularly great, what an effort seriously!!! That will be one of the defensive plays of the Season. My only real criticism of him for Round 1 is that yea, he did struggle to create anything for us in attack, but he played his role on two of our tries. That dropped ball early on was costly too as we had a 3-on-2 overlap. Still, not a bad game Lachy, he deserves a bit of credit.
 

callmack1

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11,793
Tatola: Hasn’t really been talked about by many but he deserves praise for his performance as I thought he was great. Very powerful, especially in the part of the game we were going well, he was charging down the field quite nicely. One of the only forwards who genuinely ran hard and he kept pumping those legs every time he went to the line for extra meters. Looking at his stats he ran for 115 meters which is good. Very solid defensively too.

Cook: Man, he started the game on fire!! The first time we’ve really seen his running game in a while and it looked so, so dangerous. He jumped out of dummy half numerous times in that first half which put Manly in two minds while making good meters in the process. Great to see, very potent. Great try assist for our first try as he dumped out of dummy half off a quick play the ball which made three Manly players sit on their heels, mainly Garrick. This created the space for Kennar to run into and Cooky delivered a perfect pass to send him over. Great stuff. Awesome try saver on Turbo too!! After a great first half, I was disappointed to see him do absolutely nothing in the second. He went completely into his shell. He actually got pretty sloppy and arm-grabby in defence too. His effort on Brooks when he scored was just inexcusable.

Keppie: Not an awful lot to write home about, but that’s not to say he had a bad game in his official debut for the club. I was still impressed. Loved his aggression, particularly when he laid out Koula early on with that massive hit. Then the rest of the game was solid with his carries. Well done Keep!

Koloamatangi: I can’t say well done to Keaon as he was honestly one of our most disappointing on the night. His stats read okay, but I thought he was very average after watching the game twice. He doesn’t run hard anymore; he just dawdles into the line or tries to do stupid steppy shit which often resulted in him being stopped in his tracks. I think there was many only one run where I genuinely said, “Good carry Keaon!” The rest were weak and lazy. Also, a terrible tackle attempt on Olakau’atu when he scored. Didn’t put his body on the line at all and just slid straight off in a really poor effort. For such a big man, he played well under his weight. Very disappointing.

Arrow: I thought Jai was also pretty quiet in this one, I don’t have too much to say about him at all which says it all for him really. He did seem to struggle with injury a bit though.

Murray: A great performance as we have come to expect from Captain Cam. He’s one of the only forwards who really gave it their all and worked their asses off. He ran so sharply and so hard, constantly poked his nose through. You heard the crowd go “ohhh,” on many of his runs which is a sign that they were pretty strong. For a somewhat smaller guy, it always amazes me how much he punches above his weight. Plenty of clean up work around the ruck as always too. He worked himself to an absolute stand still and was just such a leader yet again. Failed to stop Croker’s try in probably the only downer of his night. An interesting point that I can’t believe no one has discussed though was him on an edge! He moved out there when Liva came on which is actually pretty big news. I like it though and while he didn’t have a lot of joy there in this game, that won’t always be the case.

Havili: Liva’s performance didn’t really stand out to me too much after first watch live but watching the replay, man, he stood out massively!! He was actually incredible!! Came on in the lock position and his impact off the bench was incredible! Really strong carries and I noted that he didn’t get put on his back at all, not even once which is crazy. His ball playing was exceptional too as he popped up through the middle so often and he’d do a two pass, often to another forward and this worked particularly well. He formed a good one-two punch with Tom which gave us a lot of momentum. Good stuff Liva! As good as Duncan is, I’d find it hard to leave Liva out of that role for Round 2 the way he played the other day.

Host: Nothing to say except very underwhelming. He only had four runs. Pretty poor.

Moale: Davvy was also pretty poor to be deadest honest. I expected big things, but it fell flat for him. His carries weren’t that strong, he got monstered a couple of times and made that error which started our collapse. You just can’t afford to do that after points.

Burgess: Tommy was strong. Really strong. Love his first touch! Brown came at him hard off the line and Tom actually put on a bit of footwork and stepped straight past him!! From that point on he was very strong. Plenty of barnstorming runs and constantly carried defenders with him. His kick off returns were menacing. Great way individually to start his final year at the club.

Conclusion

Look, a bit of a weird one when you really take a step back and look at it. It was like two different teams out there wearing the red and green. The one that played for the first 50 minutes was pretty good, they put in a performance to be proud of and something to really build off. The second team that played the last 30 were just diabolical and looked like the 2023 Rabbitohs.

I will say that I am a little concerned, despite playing well in patches. We really have our work cut out for us now and the pressure is on heading into Round 2. We have a week to respond and fix up plenty of stuff. Hopefully we can do it.

It’s Round 1, let’s not throw our toys out of the cot. I admit to being a bit worried but it’s a long Season. Enjoy the ride.
 
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