The South Sydney Rabbitohs are excited to be bringing a home game to Perth for the ninth consecutive year, this time against their original combatants from the Club’s first two ventures to the western capital back in 2009 and 2010, the Melbourne Storm.
The Rabbitohs and Storm feature a host of International and State of Origin stars in their squads, and with the New South Wales and Queensland State of Origin teams being named at the conclusion of the round 11 clash, these players will be giving it their all to secure the two competition points as well as putting their best foot forward for State of Origin selection.
The Rabbitohs have shown that it is possible to grow a fan base outside of the traditional Rugby League regions, with almost 1000 of the Rabbitohs’ close-to-30,000 Members coming from Western Australia.
International and State of Origin stars of the game such as Sam Burgess (England), Cameron Smith (Australia/Queensland), Thomas Burgess (England), Jesse Bromwich (New Zealand), Robbie Farah (Australia/New South Wales), Cooper Cronk (Australia/Queensland), Alex Johnston (Australia), Billy Slater (Australia/Queensland), Adam Reynolds (New South Wales), Will Chambers (Australia/Queensland), Kenneath Bromwich (New Zealand), Tohu Harris (New Zealand) and WA’s own Bryson Goodwin (New Zealand) are all set to take to the field at nib Stadium in what promises to be an exciting display of Rugby League, in a prelude to the Rugby League World Cup which will feature nib Stadium’s World Cup double header in November with England taking on France and Wales playing Ireland.
Rabbitohs coach David Furner says the players and coaches are keen to get across to Perth for the annual clash.
“This is my first time coming across to Perth with the Rabbitohs and I’m very excited to be part of the Club coming across here in about two weeks’ time,” Furner said.
“I’m told by our crew that it’s a fabulous atmosphere here at nib Stadium on game day and that’s something all Rugby League people relish.
“I was fortunate enough to play against the Western Reds here in Perth in 1997 and the crowd got right behind their team.
“I understand that we are the adopted team of the people in WA due to the commitment we’ve made to the state and the people over the past decade, so I’m sure we’ll see a strong, vocal crowd here later this month when we play the Storm.”
Rabbitohs CCO and former NRL player Shannon Donato says all indications are that it will be a big crowd again this year when the Rabbitohs roll into town to take on last year’s NRL Grand Finalists.
“Ticket sales have been going well and that is a testament to the passion the people of Perth, and more broadly the people of Western Australia, have for their sport and more specifically Rugby League,” Donato said.
“nib Stadium has been at capacity, or near to capacity, on nearly every occasion we’ve played here over the past nine years and every indication says that it will be a strong crowd again.
“This will be an opportunity for the community in Perth to see some of the game’s absolutely elite players, captains of their national sides, and to show that they want more top level Rugby League to be played on the West Coast, and to possibly have their own team in the NRL again in the future.
“The people of Perth and WA have always got behind us and we in turn are happy to support them, particularly those in the Rugby League community.”
General Manager of NRLWA, John Sackson, added: “We are again thrilled to welcome the Rabbitohs back to WA for their ninth NRL Telstra Premiership game in Perth in as many seasons.
“The two NRL matches played at nib Stadium last season were golden point extra time cliff-hangers and this year’s Rabbitohs clash against the star studded Melbourne Storm indeed has the hallmarks of another epic battle between two of the proudest, most physical and most entertaining Rugby League teams in the competition.
“Both squads include some of the most popular and skilful superstars of the code and we encourage all sports fans to take this rare opportunity to experience the amazing atmosphere that makes Rugby League one of the most exciting spectacles in the world of sport.
“Further to the ‘home’ games that the Rabbitohs bring to Perth, we are also grateful for the way the club is always willing to assist us with grass roots development in WA.
“For example, in relation to the 21 May Storm clash, Rabbitohs coach David Furner will conduct a Perth ‘Master class’ to help up-skill over 25 local coaches, and on Thursday 18 May, South Sydney Internationals Greg Inglis, George Burgess and former great Roy Asotasi will participate in a gala Rugby League clinic for up to 400 juniors at the Joondalup Giants home ground, Admiral Reserve, in Heathridge.”
Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said WA Rugby League fans were excited about the upcoming game between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Melbourne Storm, continuing the promotion of the game in WA.
Mr Murray said WA had a strong and passionate Rugby League community who would benefit significantly from the Rabbitohs' engagement sessions and the opportunity to see elite Rugby League locally at nib Stadium.
"Grassroots Rugby League is very strong in WA and continues to grow within the community.
"The Rabbitohs' commitment to hosting home games in WA over many years has contributed to support for the sport in this State, giving local fans access to top-level Rugby League at nib Stadium.
"The Rabbitohs always make an extra effort to engage with the community when they come to town, conducting a range of school and junior clinics, coach development sessions and promotional events."
The South Sydney vs Melbourne match will be played on Sunday 21 may at 4:30pm (WST) at nib Stadium. Tickets are available now from www.ticketmaster.com.au/rabbitohs or by calling 136 100.