With plenty of experience and versatility behind him, it’s fair to say that the recruitment of Ethan Lowe to the squad is a timely addition.
The 27-year-old second rower is a strong addition to the squad, boosting an already formidable back row featuring the likes of John Sutton, Sam Burgess and Cameron Murray.
Having played over 108 NRL games, which includes starting positions in the North Queensland Cowboys’ 2015 and 2017 Grand Final sides, winning the former, Lowe is an experienced campaigner in the prime of his career.
Rabbitohs NRL Assistant Coach Jason Demetriou is one of the familiar faces that has worked previously with Lowe, who he believes is the perfect - albeit late - addition to the 2019 squad.
“I coached Ethan for three years - two years at the Northern Pride and then a year at the North Queensland Cowboys,” Demetriou said.
He brings experience having played two NRL Grand Finals and winning one and he wasn’t far off from a State of Origin berth eighteen months ago. To get a player of that quality this late in the pre-season is huge for us.
“It’s been a good journey with him. He got himself a full-time contract, made his NRL debut and we won a Queensland Cup and NRL Grand Final together, so it’s great to be back working with him.
“I have a lot of respect for Ethan and what he’s done in the game - he compliments what we’ve got at the Club really well. He’s got a huge workrate, he’s a competitor and a player that I know teammates like playing with and he’s someone they can trust on the field.
“He brings experience having played two NRL Grand Finals and winning one and he wasn’t far off from a State of Origin berth eighteen months ago. To get a player of that quality this late in the pre-season is huge for us.”
Plenty of Rabbitohs faithful have already brought up the big conundrum when it comes to Lowe’s signing - where will he fit in? With an already formidable back row of John Sutton, Sam Burgess and Cameron Murray, it’s a positional headache - and a good one - for Wayne Bennett.
While four players don’t fit into three positions, Demetriou has the belief that Lowe’s versatility and ability to fill in where need be is just another positive that he brings to the Club.
“I think the big advantage we have with him is he’s able to play both sides of the field,” he explained.
"He’s comfortable in attack and defence on either edge and that gives us versatility in the side with Sutto, Sam and Cameron.
“You’ve got four top-quality players who all bring their own styles; you’ve got the finesse and the guile of John Sutton, the power and impact game of Sam, the youthful impact of Cameron and then Ethan, who’s got a really good work ethic and runs lines as good as anyone in the NRL.
“Like I said, he’s played a lot of NRL, he’s won a Premiership and played in a lot of big games so he knows what it takes to be successful.”
But Lowe isn’t just your average run-of-the-mill second rower, with another big asset being his ability as a goal kicker. With a 77.53% success rate, having kicked 69/89 goals in his career, Lowe was the deputy to sharpshooter Johnathan Thurston at the Cowboys, and there’s no doubt that he will hold the same role behind Adam Reynolds.
“He’s a goal kicker as well which is something that has gotten better and better over the last few years too,” said Demetriou.
He did a lot of practice up in Townsville with David Furner up there and he’s continuing to work on that. Ethan’s got a lot more skill than he has probably used over the last few years, so we’re looking to get that out of him over the course of the year to bring out those other qualities.
"He had his first day of training yesterday and he met everyone, and like most players, they already know each other from playing against one another, and he’s got a good character so he’ll fit in well.”