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Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire, knows the positive impact that a big crowd can have on his players, and few games come bigger than the Rabbitohs v Bulldogs rivalry.
After being in the thick of the rivalry’s action since 2012, the Rabbitohs mentor has seen a grand total of just under 400,000 people (394,276) watch the traditional rivalry in person at ANZ Stadium, including two giant Finals matches; the 2012 Preliminary Final (70,354) and the ground record 2014 Grand Final (83,833).
As the two sides prepare to go head to head again this Friday night in what will be their 152nd clash, Maguire has called on Rabbitohs Members and supporters to Assemble and help get the men in red and green over the line in the Round 24 match.
“To see the crowds grow over the last few years and see our red and green rise above has always been very, very special for our players,” said Maguire.
“The noise that they (the Members and fans) create and everything behind us as a team is very special.
“The boys really appreciate that noise – they hear it and they really rise as they go throughout that game, so the more that we can get out there, it’ll be great for us as a team.”
In the last two seasons alone, some 200,000 people have watched the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs clash live at ANZ Stadium – a venue that both teams call home – in just two years, for an average crowd of 47,008. The most recent encounter saw the Rabbitohs take a thrilling match by 18-17 on Good Friday this year in Round 5.
Round 23 promises to be just as thrilling though as the fourth-placed Rabbitohs look to consolidate their place in the top four against what will be a hungry Bulldogs outfit fighting to consolidate their own position in the top-eight.
The teams will also be playing for the fourth annual Special Olympics Cup – currently held by the Rabbitohs – with a range of initiatives occurring on game day, including a pre-game lap of honour from Special Olympics Athletes, recently returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Athletes will be carrying a torch and lighting a cauldron as part of the event.
The game will also have milestone significance with Glenn Stewart set to play his 200th first grade game.
“All those milestone are always very special for any player,” said Maguire.
“Two hundred games is quite remarkable really when you think about how tough this game is. For Glenn, everything he’s gone through with his body and his injuries and those sorts of things – he’s really, really fit at the moment.
“He’s looking healthy for his 200th. We’re looking forward to seeing him out there again.”
The Rabbitohs will return to ANZ Stadium this Friday night to take on the Bulldogs in Round 24 of the Premiership. Members and supporters are urged to Assemble and cheer the boys over the line! Purchase your tickets now!
To watch the full interview, please press play on the video player.