Position Battles - Second row
As one of the strongest positions in the Rabbitohs’ squad, competition for spots will be fierce at both lock and second row.
With a mixture of players with ball playing skills, high work ethics and strong running games, it will certainly be interesting to see who earns their spot, and who can hold onto theirs throughout the season.
The Experienced Heads
As one of the cornerstones of the Rabbitohs’ forward pack, Slammin’ Sam has the versatility to play anywhere from prop to second row to lock.
On the edges, Burgess is a wide running threat that can break a game open, and is particularly dangerous close to the line, where he has scored three tries in his last five appearances in the 11 or 12 jersey.
Up the middle of the field while playing lock, he is able to get amongst the dirty work and provide a high work ethic for his side. In 2017, playing the majority of his matches in the middle of the field, Burgess averaged 142.3 metres and 34 tackles per game.
Another player who is able to fill out any position in the forward pack, Jason Clark began his career as a young, hard-working lock forward, and has now become one of the Club’s stalwarts in the middles.
No matter what number is on the back of his jersey, you know what you’ll get from Clark – a high work rate and a no-fuss player who will do anything for his side.
It’s no surprise that the longest-serving Rabbitoh in Club history is also one of the most influential for his side, especially in the back row.
Having moved between the forwards and halves throughout the first half of his career, Sutton has found a home on the left edge, adding a ball-playing dynamic to the forward pack.
Sutton’s experience and leadership are also qualities that he brings to the side, and will come in handy in 2018 with so many up and coming forwards in the NRL squad.
Although he is only turning 26 this year, Kyle Turner is an experienced member of the Rabbitohs’ forward pack.
After debuting in 2014 as a second rower, and being a part of the Premiership winning side that same year, Turner has gone on to make the transition up front as a prop in recent years, although that doesn’t discount the fact he can revert to his former position at a pinch.
A big bodied forward, Turner brings a high work ethic and a bone-crunching defensive technique that has earned him a spot in the top 17 over the last five seasons.
The Young Guns
Arriving at the Club midseason in 2017, Dean Britt earned his first call up to the NRL squad in Round 26, where he put in a strong performance coming off the bench.
The 24-year-old is a rangy backrower who is an all-round threat, and with a big frame he has the ability to carry multiple defenders with him in the tackle.
Don’t be surprised if you see this big red head earn a starting spot after he looks to build on his single appearance with the Club.
After his breakout season in 2017, Angus Crichton will bring a presence to second row this season.
With a powerful fend and a strong running game, the 21-year-old proved to be a danger on the right edge, forming a strong combination with halfback Adam Reynolds.
With a game based around power and controlled aggression, the back row seems like the perfect spot for Tyrell Fuimaono.
After debuting in Round 10 last season, the 21-year-old went on to play the rest of the season in a variety of positions, but it was in the forward pack where he showed his best form.
Equipped with a big motor and an offload too, Fuimaono could find himself to be a mainstay in the Rabbitohs’ back row in 2018.
As one of the most exciting up and coming Souths Juniors in the squad, Cameron Murray introduced himself into first grade in a promising fashion last season.
A natural leader and a defensively sound player, Murray made his debut off the bench in Round 8 against the Broncos and in just a matter of matches found himself playing 80 minutes in the starting side.
Although he has a smaller frame than some, Murray’s workload and output were on par with some of his bigger Rabbitohs teammates. At just 20, he has a big future in Red and Green according to his mentors.
In a transitional season for ‘Sifa’ Talakai, the talented Souths Junior managed to find his way into the forward pack by the end of the season, starring in the NYC side’s end of year run to the finals.
While his junior days were out in the centres tormenting opponents, Talakai could very well find himself in the back row in the future. As a heavy hitter with a strong physical presence, Talakai could be set to make a strong contribution in 2018.
After captaining the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles to the last ever NYC competition, Jesse Martin arrives at Redfern looking for a first grade opportunity with the Grand Old Club.
A robust lock forward, Martin has a high work ethic and leadership skills that could propel him into the first grade squad sooner rather than later.
Despite an injury-interrupted 2017 season, Lucky Ta’avale starred for the NYC side as a right edge back rower.
The amount of competition in the back row has not deterred Ta’avale either, with reports he has been impressing at first grade training with his vocal involvements and high work rate, despite his modesty.
With an ability to play in the front row as well, Ta’avale will be a good chance to make his NRL debut sometime throughout the coming season.
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