The 2015 Contenders – Back Row
With trial matches underway and the 2015 Telstra Premiership fast approaching, it’s time to start asking the big positional questions. Today, it’s all about the back-rowers.
After winning the Auckland Nines and retaining the Charity Shield, the Rabbitohs will take on the Northern Pride in this Saturday’s Return to Redfern clash in another opportunity to stake their claim for positions in Michael Maguire’s line-up. With plenty of back-row experience and talent at Redfern, the battle for the three second row and lock positions is one that you’ll want to keenly watch.
Chris McQueen has been a Queensland State of Origin representative in recent seasons despite him starting from the Rabbitohs’ bench for much of the 2014 season. The damaging back-rower will be looking to earn his spot in Michael Maguire’s starting side this year.
Able to play anywhere from the wing to the front-row and blessed with the speed of a back to match, McQueen is well-placed to make an impact in 2015, as much for his versatility as for his representative status. In his 2o appearances in 2014, McQueen averaged 74.2 metres with the ball in hand and an average of 18.6 tackles per game, while scoring four tries in the process. His size and strength were also key to the Rabbitohs when he was injected into matches, making 14 tackle breaks on his way to being a part of South Sydney’s 21st Premiership winning side.
Scott Sorensen joins the Rabbitohs in the 2015 pre-season on a train and trial basis as he presses for a full time contract with the Club.
Sorensen made his first grade debut with the Sharks at the end of the 2014 season before going on to play three games for the Club. Sorensen saw game-time in the 2015 Charity Shield draw against the St George Illawarra Dragons and will this week start at hooker in the Return to Redfern clash against the Northern Pride.
Glenn Stewart joins the Rabbitohs in 2015 after 12 successful seasons with the Sea Eagles which saw him represent his state and his country, as well as win the Clive Churchill Medal for man-of-the-match in the 2011 Grand Final.
Stewart brings a wealth of experience to the Rabbitohs back row and will get his first chance to shine this Saturday when he plays against the Northern Pride at the Return to Redfern clash. Expect Stewart to push strongly for a starting spot either in the second row, or at lock.
After spending much of his career at five-eighth, John Sutton will likely find himself in the back row as was originally intended for the 2014 season after the pre-season injury of Luke Keary.
Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire, made full use of Sutton’s talents playing out of the back-row upon Keary’s late season return by using him as an extra five-eighth in attack – ready and willing to capitalise on opportunities while keeping oppositions constantly guessing.
Averaging 23.3 tackles per match and regularly challenging for top-tackle honours, Kyle Turner proved to be one of South Sydney’s most effective players in 2014.
Turner was one of a handful of talented debutants last season that helped the Rabbitohs to a 21st Premiership after coming through the ranks of the under 20s to score six tries in 2014, including a brilliant four-pointer against Parramatta that saw him soar over the Eels defence in round 19 to take a bomb and score. In all, Turner made a total of 1205 metres with the ball in hand off 137 runs. Turner also broke 16 tackles while breaking defensive lines on seven occasions. Defensively, the young-gun made 583 tackles. Look to Turner to build on his game this season.
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 forward pack 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.
A veteran of 103 first grade games – all for the Rabbitohs – Ben Lowe enters his eighth season in the top grade in 2015 looking to nail down a spot in Michael Maguire’s starting side.
Lowe has been a constant presence in the Rabbitohs line-up since making his debut in round two of the 2008 season, and was rewarded for his good form by being named in Queensland’s 2010 State of Origin Squad. Most recently, Lowe appeared in 17 matches for the red and green’s in 2014, averaging 22.5 tackles per match 67.3 metres with the ball in hand.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will take on the Northern Pride in this Saturday’s Return to Redfern clash and the boys need you there to help them get over the line! Be there to celebrate our return to our spiritual home and get your photo taken with the Provan-Summons Trophy, while the kids enjoy a footy clinic among a range of activities on the day! Kick-off is at 6pm.