What you’re holding in your hand isn’t just a coin. It’s more than that. It’s 110 years of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, 110 years of Rugby League. With every groove and detail it tells the story of everything the Rabbitohs have been a part of.
In its weight is the first games played out of Birchgrove Oval in 1908. The working class split from rugby union.
You hold the oldest current Club in Rugby League - the Rabbitohs - formed a week before our rivals the Sydney Roosters.
Newtown, Glebe, Balmain, Western Suburbs, the Bears, Cumberland, Newcastle… All intertwined in the history of South Sydney.
Run your finger over the stars and feel the triumph of 21 Premierships. The first claimed in 1908. The most recent in 2014.
It shines just like the team dubbed ‘The Pride of the League’ after winning every game in 1925.
The emblem is a mark of the tribalism of Rugby League, the 1137 Rabbitohs who fought for South Sydney.
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, called ‘The Berries’ or ‘Country Bumpkins’ in their formative years, came barking at us in 1934. A ‘take no prisoners’ team who we had to overcome in 1967 and 2014.
Teams would come and go, none as worthy an opponent as the St George Dragons. They won 11 Premierships in a row until we stopped them in 1967.
We saw World War II ask our young men to protect their country. That’s where Jack Rayner, the greatest Rabbitohs Captain ever, cut his teeth.
It pays homage to the greatest players ever. Clive ‘The Little Master’ Churchill, Ron Coote, John Sattler, Bobby McCarthy… Even Provan, Raper, Langlands and Gasiner from our great St George rivals.
The Grand Old Club has seen it all in 110 years and this coin is rich with history and tradition.
Cronulla and Penrith joined in 1967, Rugby League’s 60th season. We’d won 16 titles by this point.
Ironically, this coin also represents the financial troubles of the Rabbitohs.
1970: Manly and Easts, two of the competitions most affluent sides, would become enemies of our working class background. Using their cheque books to strip down South Sydney.
The coin captures the tough times that would follow.
The 1980s brought big hair, parachute pants and big hits like Thriller by Michael Jackson.
Five more sides would join Rugby League but in the decade of ‘big’, things were looking lean for Souths.
Men that bled Red and Green stepped up for us in the 80s. Mario Fenech would lead us to Minor Premiership glory in 1989 before we painfully let it get away from us in the finals.
Within that coin is the dark period of decline for the Rabbitohs. Expansion teams like the Raiders and Broncos emerged.
A breakaway competition was formed by News Limited – ‘Super League’.
Balmain, Wests, our foundation brothers, would merge and throw away 90 years of history. Norths and Manly would form the ill-fated ‘Northern Eagles’ club. The once powerful St George Dragons would merge with Illawarra to survive.
This coin is rigid and tough. It represents the only foundation Club that would stand up against expulsion. Uniting 80,000 people to revolt against the NRL’s decision to have a Rugby League competition without Souths.
The never-say-die attitude of the Rabbitohs lives in that coin. In 2002 – we came back.
From there came Luke Stuart, John Sutton, Nathan Merritt, Adam Reynolds, Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess.
We climbed back to our rightful place on top of the mountain. October 5, 2014 was our toughest win. 43 years of adversity, broken bones, tears and struggle for that one big star on the back of the coin.
It wasn’t a soft landing after that. The past couple of years have been tough. But this coin, with all its stories, can always remind you of where we came from and how we react when things look tough.
This coin is your memories, our memories, of the passion of South Sydney.