Widely considered by many to signal the beginning of the Rugby League season, the Charity Shield has played an integral role in the preparation of both the Rabbitohs and Dragons for the season proper since first being played at Redfern Oval in 1982.
On that occasion, it was St George who came out on top in a low-scoring 9-7 score-line – the Rabbitohs winning their first Shield in 1984 by 24-6, again at Redfern Oval.
For current Rabbitohs players, the sense of occasion hasn’t been lost either, with hooker Cameron McInnes excited by the possibility of pulling on a red and green jersey in the traditional clash.
“It’s one of those games that as a kid you always looked forward to because it meant the footy was back,” said McInnes.
“Now, to have a chance to be a part of it is something really special, especially being a Souths Junior and knowing what the game means to the Members and supporters, but especially for the community.”
The clash has always been about contributing to the wider community, and for the Rabbitohs, that means Souths Cares, who will get a leg-up for their 2016 fundraising as they look to continue their work in providing quality service based on their three key pillars; education, health and employment.
The Rabbitohs will name their team for the clash today (Tuesday), and McInnes is keen to play a part.
“All the boys want to play their part for the team,” said McInnes.
“We’ve had a long but really productive pre-season, but there’s nothing like getting some game time under your belt.
“We’re focussed on putting the things we’ve been practicing into action this weekend and really playing for each other.”
The game is also an opportunity for two of the game’s most passionate sets of fans to come together and celebrate
“Playing against the Dragons is always special because of that history and passion that the Members have,” said McInnes.
“There have been some amazing turn-outs to the Charity Shield in the past – everyone’s really vocal too, so we can’t wait to get back out there on home turf at ANZ Stadium.
“We want to see as much Red and Green as possible this weekend!”