PREVIEW: Rabbitohs v The Bye
The Rabbitohs media team takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the NRL’s longest suffering team as they prepare to take on eight teams in one weekend!
Rabbitohs v The Bye
Round 12, Venue: Who knows?
Kick-off: Not sure?
Few organisations in Australian sport boast a cleaner rap-sheet or score sheet than the NRL’s scapegoat club, the Bye – a fact that has prompted perpetual outrage at the non-existent club.
That outrage continued this week as the ‘team’ prepares to take on the Rabbitohs… Sharks, Titans, Sea Eagles, Storm, Warriors, Panthers and Roosters, all in the one weekend.
But Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire says the Bye’s woes won’t change his team’s focus despite coming into the Round with the bonus of playing against what is expected to be a fatigued Bye thanks to their (some would say) unfair draw.
“We’ll be treating this round like any other – that’s all you can do in games like this,” Maguire allegedly told Rabbitohs.com.au.
“We’ve put in some good work during the week at training and it’s just another good opportunity for us to work on the things we do.
“There’s two points on offer and they are as valuable as any other competition points in the NRL.”
Quizzed about the Bye’s tendency to not show up to games, Maguire admitted that it was a cause for concern.
“We’ll be treating it as though they will show up,” said Maguire (again allegedly).
“I think it’s an issue that will have to be addressed at some stage though. They’ve been going since the 1900’s in Rugby League in this country and I’m sure their other Bye teams in other sports are doing the same thing.
“We just need to be ready in case they do decide to show up this time.”
The rivalry stems back to the 1909 Grand Final, when Balmain refused to play South Sydney in the decider of that year. The Bye stepped up to the plate, but the governing body awarded the Premiership to Souths, refusing to recognise the Bye as a team.
The Bye are a unique organisation in Australian sport having teams in all of the major sporting codes across the nation, even extending into the grassroots levels of sport right around Australia. The Bye seize on any opportunity where the governing body needs to extend a season, give teams a break throughout the year, or have an uneven number of teams in their competition.
Despite having never scored a single competition point or win in the club’s history, curiously, the Bye still manage to hold a unique place in the NRL, having never recorded a loss either, with each of their matches since their inception resulting in a nil-all draw.
Despite repeated official protests on the grounds of unfairness, the Bye has been unable to overturn the governing body’s decision to perpetually award two competition points to their opposition, prompting some to suggest an agenda at NRL HQ.
The club is privately said to be fuming at their omission from the Rabbitohs’ Book of Feuds, despite claiming that both sides have enjoyed a fervent rivalry since that 1909 Grand Final.
The Bye’s captain, Moses Mbye, allegedly said: “I’ve had some tough decisions to make this week about whether I play for the Bulldogs against the Raiders on Sunday, or help out my fellow Bye Brothers in their eight matches this weekend.
“I’ll have to talk to Dessie about it and make a decision.”
Team Chairman, Marcus Bai, allegedly said: “We have a very even-handed history at our Club, and we intend to maintain that level of balance this weekend in our eight matches.
“If we can come away with zero points and zero for-and-against, then we’ve done our job.”
The Rabbitohs v Bye rivalry almost came to a head again in the 2014 Grand Final, when concerns were raised after the Bulldogs failed to run out for the decider. In what could have been a rare repeat of the 1909 decider, the Rabbitohs waited on-field for some five minutes before the Bulldogs finally materialised. Moses Mbye was again at the centre of the controversy.
“Truth is I was confused about who I was playing for that day – it was such a big occasion,” Mbye allegedly said when contacted.
NRL CEO, Todd Greenberg allegedly would not entertain hypotheticals when contacted about what the result of the Grand Final would have been had the Bye stepped up to the plate in 2014.