Ethan Russell isn’t a typical Rabbitohs Member. Growing up in New York, the 18-year old Rugby League fanatic has been flying between Redfern and the States every year since 2015 to volunteer his time with the Club.
Now studying at the University of Sydney until next December, Ethan first secured an internship with the Rabbitohs in 2015 and has been flying back every year to continue volunteering his time with the Club.
“I decided I wanted to do an internship here and things came together. I’ve been coming back for three years now, doing short spurts,” said Russell.
“I keep coming back because it’s the greatest team in the world, man.”
It was love at first sight for Ethan during his first Rabbitohs game in 2012 – Souths beat the Dragons 36-14 in Round 20.
The speed of the game, the atmosphere from the Red and Green Members – he instantly became a Rabbitoh.
“I went to a Rabbitohs match for my first League game about five years ago and I became a massive Rabbitohs fan,” said Russell.
“I like how it’s fast paced. I like the Members and the atmosphere at games – the general culture of it.
Since his 2012 experience with Souths, Ethan has become a Rugby League fanatic – spending time in England to follow the Wigan Warriors and pledging his allegiance to the NSW Blues.
His family are also starting to see the light, albeit slower than Ethan did.
“I got my family into it a pretty good amount. I brought them over to some games so they like it now – not as much as me though.”
Growing up in Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Ethan is doing his best to spread the word of the Rabbitohs – although he admits it’s rare to meet fellow Rugby League fans.
“I grew up with all the American sports; football, baseball, basketball, hockey,” said Russell.
“[At home] I have to wake up at 5am for games and I’m not really ever surrounded by similar fans.
“I play Rugby Union back in the States, I’ve kind of morphed into it, because that’s all they’ve got where I’m from… But I still like watching League more.”