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Flashback: A day of celebration on the Central Coast

When the South Sydney Rabbitohs took on the Umina Bunnies on 7 July 2001, it was a day of triumph for all who bled Red and Green.

After months of struggle and hardship, the Club had successfully won their legal battle against News Limited and were on the verge of admission back into the NRL for the 2002 season.

While the Rabbitohs weren’t a part of the NRL competition in 2000 and 2001, the Grand Old Club still played in exhibition matches, facing sides such as the American Tomahawks and the Lebanon Cedars.  

The funds generated from the matches would help in the Club’s court battle against News Limited as the Cardinal and Myrtle fought for their rightful place back in the top league.

However, not many would have ever predicted that the Cardinal and Myrtle would take on a side that also wore red and green but that’s exactly what happened when the Rabbitohs travelled up to Gosford (to the then-known NorthPower Stadium) to take on local side the Umina Bunnies.

Established in 1964, the Umina Bunnies, of course, took plenty of influence from The Pride of the League, donning the same red and green hoops as well as featuring the famous white rabbit on their jersey.

The match was organised because of these similar traits, not to mention the fact that a large constituent of Rabbitohs supporters call the Central Coast home. 

The Rabbitohs fielded a team including the likes of Mark Carroll, Billy Moore and a young Nathan Merritt, while Umina had their own superstar in Mark Geyer lining up for them.

The duel between the two sides was an entertaining contest for all the Red and Green soldiers, who had come out to cheer on their teams. 

In the end, Souths won 40-18, with former player Jacin Sinclair scoring a hat-trick.

The match would be marked as an historic day in the Club's history and a reminder of the strong connection between South Sydney and the Central Coast region, with the Club hosting 13 matches at the venue since. 

This Saturday the side will take on the Canberra Raiders on the anniversary of the Club’s first match, with hopefully a similar result. 

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South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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