When I was a little girl, my Dad took me to the rugby league sevens tournament. I was wearing a red and green jersey with three-quarter sleeves, and I had never seen so many people with so many different colours. I felt that my colours were the very best. While the sevens were on, Reggie Rabbit was approaching us on the fence and my heart filled with joy. For weeks later I played in the back yard with my new Rabbitohs flag, waving it around like I had a crowd of thousands watching. Little did I know that becoming a Rabbitoh would be the beginning of such an amazing ride.
My Dad was very protective of me while Souths were not doing so well, and when we were removed from the comp he convinced me to follow another team. Thinking that I was young enough to fall in love with another team again – he was very wrong.
We fought back, and my eyes were right on that fight-back. Upon return, the most electric moment of my life was being at the SFS when we played our first game back, that being the Charity Shield. I thought we were the ants-pants and that we would charge our way up the ladder fuelled with passion. The next 12 years was going to be a long, long journey.
We saw plenty of floggings, and a win was about as glorious as it would get for some time. I never gave up though. I, along with a solid core of fanatics, refused to leave the wagon and we created a community within the fan base. We were at games where there were only 4000 people, we sang in the rain at Brookvale, froze our behinds off in Canberra and lived it up on the Gold Coast. Win or lose, we created a wealthy memory bank of amazing times thanks to the mighty red and greens. There was one elephant in the room though. Would we ever win a premiership?
But things slowly started to change. Not only did we get a taste of finals footy, but some heads started to turn. To me though, it wasn’t until 2009 when we signed Sam Burgess for the 2010 season and beyond, that we really started to rise. Not only did this man bring his full commitment to us, but he also brought his family. His muscle was only strengthened by Greg Inglis’ signing and from here on in, it was only a matter of time. Our team went from easy-beats to a potent force.
When the 2014 season arrived, I was not sure if our best year was behind us or not. We started out a little ordinary, but when we won games we won them well, and when we lost it was not by much. It was as though the planets were aligning in perfect timing to propel us into a finals season of a lifetime. We shunned Manly and we slayed the Roosters
You all know the rest of the story. But what needs to be said is this.
On the night of October 5th 2014, The South Sydney Rabbitohs defeated the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30-6. In front of a ground record 83,833 mostly Rabbitohs fans, a 43 year drought was broken. It was a game that created whirlwinds of emotion for fans of many ages, from many backgrounds, who all took the same path to this very moment. A game that saw men stand and be counted and show pure strength. A game that saw men deliver on a promise and deliver the best gift a South Sydney fan could EVER ask for.
I am sure I speak for many when I say the emotion felt was completely overwhelming. Relief, delight, exhilaration, and pure joy all rolled together. Wanting to curl up and cry at the same time as wanting to jump out of my skin. Seeing moments like Keary setting up Alex Johnston’s four pointer on the short-side, George Burgess charging though to break the dead-lock, Ben Te’o stepping up with a massive hit after Tyrell went down, Greg Inglis with his goanna after a superb try and Sam Burgess cry on the way back down field towards the swarm of Rabbitohs celebrating in the stands. Each and every moment are memories that will be etched in our minds for a lifetime. And then what happened afterwards. The celebrations. Seeing our coach, Michael Maguire get the traditional Powerade shower by the players, the Burgess boys embrace, Inglis greeting baby Nate, John Sutton lifting the trophy and our boys singing their team song as Premiers.
Each man who donned the jersey this season and took the field is a hero to me. They hand delivered my dream, and deserve nothing but praise – true champions who I have nothing but love for.
From that little girl meeting Reggie, to now being a mum and bringing my own daughter to the footy holding her own Reggie doll, all I can say is that the wait was well and truly worth it. The ride has been long and sometimes tedious, but after being in the crowd at my first Grand Final and coming out Premiers, I can honestly say I would not have it any other way. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to each and everyone involved in this ride and my pride could not be any stronger. The quest for 21 has been accomplished, so all that is left to say is, BRING ON 22!
Thank you Rabbitohs, you have made me one very happy Bunny.
UP THE MIGHTY PREMIERSHIP WINNING RABBITOHS!