The South Sydney Rabbitohs finished off the 2014 season in the best way possible – by winning their 21st Premiership. We take a look back and retrace the path the side took in 2014 in our ‘Path to Glory’ series. Today, we take you all the way back to the very beginning – the trials.

Ironically, the Rabbitohs began their 2014 campaign against the very team that they defeated to become NRL Champions – the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, by 28-20 at Belmore Oval.

The side would then go on to claim the Charity Shield against the St George Illawarra Dragons in Wollongong 38-20 in a polished performance before heading to Auckland for the inaugural Auckland Nines Tournament.

To read the match report from the Bulldogs game, please click here.

To read the match report from the Charity Shield, please click here.

In Auckland, the side produced a mixed bag of performances by winning one game on each of the two days of competition, firstly against the Dragons (23-4), as well as the following day against the pool-topping Penrith Panthers (18-16). The side went down only to the Melbourne Storm during the pool stage, and tournament hosts the New Zealand Warriors in the Quarter Final.

To read the match report from the victory over the Dragons in the Nines, please click here.

To read the match report from the victory over the Dragons in the Nines, please click here.

For Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire, the trial period was a positive one that provided signs of improvement for his eventual Premiership winning side.

“There are a lot of positives in terms of the things we’ve been working on in the pre-season,” said Maguire at the time.

“We’ve worked on our attack and defence together trying to build on what we achieved last year and we certainly saw signs of that during the trial period. Now it’s all about taking what we’ve learnt into round one.

“Our biggest focus is having everyone doing their specific role for the team and for each other and that’s the stuff that we really worked hard at through the pre-season.

“The guys that have been here a while have certainly moved forward and developed and you could see that in the Charity Shield, but again, that has to go into round one. 

“We need to make sure that we’re doing the things we’re practicing and executing things the way we know we can.”

Particularly pleasing for the Rabbitohs’ mentor early in the year was the performance of his younger contingent of players – a group that would prove vital in the Club’s march towards Premiership 21 – citing the infectious nature of their enthusiasm on the more established members of the Rabbitohs playing group.

“I think the trials really allowed us to have a look at some promising younger guys coming through and there are definitely a lot of positives coming from them in the way they performed and the enthusiasm that they showed. It rubbed off on a lot of the senior guys.

“We’re trying to build something here and the players know that. It’s about each of them committing to each other to get that performance each time we play.”

 

To watch a highlights package of the Rabbitohs’ best moments from the 2014 preseason, please press play on the video player.