With trial matches and the 2015 Telstra Premiership fast approaching, it’s time to start asking the big positional questions. Today, it’s all about the props.
If the adage ‘games are won and lost in the forwards’ is true, a huge part of that begins with the props up front. The Rabbitohs have six genuine contenders for the number eight and 10 jersey, and as ever, competition for the spots will be hot.
An English international with the size and strength of a wrecking ball, George Burgess will no doubt be an integral part of the Rabbitohs go-forward in 2015.The 120kg George enjoyed an outstanding 2014 season that saw him score one of the highlight tries of the Club’s Grand Final victory – in a fashion that has become a personal trademark.
Burgess led from the front in his 23 appearances making 346 runs for a total of 3502 metres with the ball in hand and scoring three tries. The Rabbitohs prop also proved to be one of the toughest men to handle in the game, with his 120kg frame punching holes in opposition defences by making 75 tackle breaks, while also making a total of 631 tackles (second in the side only to brother Sam).
Standing two centimetres taller than George and at the same weight (120kg), Thomas Burgess will be hoping to pin down the second prop forward spot to create a one-two punch in the Rabbitohs front row that will have oppositions seeing double.
Thomas appeared in 17 matches in 2014 – coming off the bench for many of them – during the 2014 season, proving to be a vital cog in the Rabbitohs forward pack. He averaged an impressive 136.8 metres, and 21.1 tackles per match, while also managing to break 13 tackles. Expect Thomas to step up and stake a claim for a starting spot.
Once a barn-storming winger, Dave Tyrrell has found himself at the opposite end of the rugby league spectrum in the Rabbitohs front row, and if his 2014 season was anything to go by, he aims to stay there this season.
The Premiership winning prop was the only player to play every game during the 2014 season for the men in red and green – 27 matches, while averaging 60.4 metres with the ball in hand 21.2 tackles, making 13 tackle breaks and two line-breaks on his way to a Premiership ring.
A proud Souths Junior who has the ability to play anywhere in the Rabbitohs pack, Clark will again be a contender for a spot in the front row in 2015.
Clark played 22 first grade games in 2014 on his way to Premiership glory, averaging 65.5 metres with the ball in hand and 18.4 tackles per match. His versatility has proved a god-send for the Rabbitohs in recent seasons, particularly with his ability to deputise at dummy-half. Expect Clark to be pushing for a starting spot in 2015.
Tim Grant joins the Rabbitohs from Penrith, bringing with him experience at State of Origin level and an enthusiasm that is infectious. Add in the fact that he is 194cm tall and weighs 112kg, and it’s easy to understand just why Grant could be a vital part of the Rabbitohs pack moving forward.
After a 2014 season that saw him play just 11 games, Grant is itching to get onto the pitch to represent the red and green and build on his form. In his brief 2014, Grant averaged 71.2 metres with the ball in hand and 18.7 tackles per match.
Chris Grevsmuhl will be hoping to make his first grade debut in 2015, and if his drive and hunger at training is anything to go by, this could well be his year.
Grevsmuhl joined the Rabbitohs in 2014 after several seasons with the North Queensland Cowboys’ under 20s squad. A national and state representative at age group level, Grevsmuhl was a part of the Rabbitohs’ 2014 Premiership winning squad, but is now focused on earning his first grade debut.