Feuds No More

Take a look back at all of the Rabbitohs feuds with clubs that no longer take part in the NRL.

Michael Curin has also contributed to this article with statistics and information.

Adelaide Rams (1997-1998)

 Played Won Lost For Against%
South Sydney Rabbitohs   0  1  18 34 0

The first instance of rugby league in South Australia was in 1914 when a Great Britain touring side played against combined South Australia in Adelaide, easily disposing of their opponents 101-nil.

In 1951 South Australia toured NSW and played the Rabbitohs in an exhibition match at Redfern Oval with Souths proving too strong, winning 56-33. The idea of the city of churches having its own team in the competition may have been conceived when nearly 29,000 packed in to see Balmain and St George play at Adelaide Oval in 1991, but a bid to have a side called the Adelaide Aces join the 1995 premiership was unsuccessful.

A few seasons later the Adelaide Rams were brought in to compete in the Super League competition in 1997. The new side wore red and blue jerseys, with the Rams name targeting an ethos of strength and toughness. When the ARL and Super League competitions merged to form the NRL in 1998, the Rabbitohs were destined to play the Rams for the first, and in fact the only, time in Round 18.

Coming off two big wins, the Rams were too strong for Souths, winning 34-18. The Rams were an early casualty of the Super League War, though, and were axed from the competition after 1998. The Rabbitohs played in 1999 before suffering the same fate.

But, of course, nobody marched in the street to save the Adelaide Rams.

Annandale (1910-1920)

 Played Won Lost Draw ForAgainst%
South Sydney Rabbitohs   21  19  1  1 383 143 91

Like many of the foundation clubs, Annandale originated from rugby union, breaking away to compete in the NSWRL from 1910 until 1920.

Souths' record against the 'Dales was exceptional, winning 19 of 21 matches, their only loss a 3-2 defeat in Round 10, 1915. Fullback Wally Dymant scored an early penalty goal to give Souths a 2-nil lead at halftime, but Annandale struck back with a second half try to seal the match.

Eventually the club discontinued due to poor form, winning just 25 of their 153 matches, claiming four wooden spoons, and infringing on the residential rule at the time.

Cumberland (1908)

 Played Won Lost For Against %
South Sydney Rabbitohs  23  100

Cumberland only lasted one season in the top grade – the inaugural competition in 1908. The club were a late addition, formed on the first day of the season, and didn't compete until Round 2, bringing the number of competing clubs to nine.

Despite missing players such as Arthur Hennessy, Johnny Rosewell and Jim Davis on representative duties, Souths led 6-2 at halftime and went on to a comprehensive 23-2 victory in their only match against Cumberland, in Round 3.

At the end of the season the Rabbitohs took out the premiership, while Cumberland came last, and were eventually withdrawn from the competition. Nearly four decades later, the Parramatta Eels became the next side to be introduced into the competition from the Cumberland area, also donning the blue and gold colours.

Glebe (1908-1929)

 Played Won Lost For Against %
South Sydney Rabbitohs  49  31  18  720  413  63

Glebe claim to be the first rugby league club formed in Australia, with their inaugural meeting held on January 9 1908. Despite fielding strong teams through the 1910s and 1920s, the club failed to win a premiership, their best result being the minor premiership in 1911.

South Sydney's record against the Dirty Reds is one of dominance, winning 31 of 49 matches, with the biggest coming in Round 11 of the 1929 season, a 31-4 win in Glebe's final season. With the two clubs being in such close proximity, it was certainly a significant rivalry in the early years of the competition.

Eventually Glebe bowed out of the competition at the end of 1929 as the game continued to change, but in 2017 the club was revived and now competes in the Ron Massey Cup as the Glebe-Burwood Wolves.

Newtown Jets (1908-1982)

 Played Won Lost Draw For Against%
South Sydney Rabbitohs  163  97  58  2689  2189 60

After the mighty South Sydney took out the NSWRL competition in 1908 and 1909, it was Newtown who claimed the premiership in 1910. Indeed, they won it against the Rabbitohs in a final round thriller, managing to kick a late penalty goal to seal a draw and secure the Premiership, being "first past the post".

The two clubs would come together in the last game of the season four more times, Souths winning every one. By far the most memorable was the completion of the "Miracle of '55". The Rabbitohs won 12 games in a row to win the competition, the last one a thrilling 12-11 comeback after Newtown led 11-7 with just six minutes remaining.

The Jets (previously known as the Bluebags) managed to win three premierships of their own, and are regarded as one of the most famous rugby league clubs in the country. But, after appearing in the 1981 Grand Final, financial hardship reared its ugly head and by the end of 1983 the club was kicked out of the competition.

One of the most controversial recent games between the sides came in Round 5 of 1980 at Redfern Oval, when Souths were robbed by referee Chris Ward who disallowed a late goal. Replays showed the kick was successful, and with the scores at 10-all heading into the final minutes, the Jets were given a penalty right in front of the sticks, which gave them an unlikely 12-10 victory.

Souths officials, livid with the decision, put in an official complaint, claiming Ward gave Newtown multiple sets of seven tackles and complained about the 15-7 penalty count. The complaint went nowhere and Souths fans were ropeable, perhaps even more so when Newtown captain Tommy Raudonikis later admitted the better side lost.

In recent years the Jets have been acting as a feeder team in the NSW Intrust Super Premiership, and in the pre-season of 2010 the Rabbitohs hosted the Jets as a part of the 'Return To Redfern' event, scraping home against their old rivals 10-4 in a tight contest.

North Sydney Bears (1908-1999)

 Played Won Lost Draw For Against %
South Sydney Rabbitohs  197  119  71  3445  2846  %

Another foundation club, the North Sydney Bears, affectionately known as "The Shoremen", claim they were the first Sydney club affiliated with the NSWRL in 1908 (Souths held the No. 2 ticket). The Bears moniker first appeared in 1959 when they were sponsored by the local Big Bear supermarket.

The club had little success, winning their only Premierships in 1921 and 1922, after they brought in former Souths players Harold Horder and Cec Blinkhorn. From then until their departure from the league at the end of 1999, the club struggled for silverware, making the 1943 grand final and playing in preliminary finals on four occasions in the mid to late 90s but failing to go any further.

Regrettably the club was forced to merge with rivals Manly Sea Eagles to form the Northern Eagles, but the ill-fated franchise ended in 2003 when Manly were assigned the NRL licence and left the Bears to fend for themselves in reserve grade.

After 90 years of rivalry and over 100 years of history, over the last decade Souths and Norths have been working together, with the Bears acting as the Rabbitohs' feeder side.

South Queensland Crushers (1995-1997)

 Played Won Lost For Against 
South Sydney Rabbitohs  112  73  75 

With the NSWRL looking to expand its horizons in the mid 1990s to make the competition truly national, South Queensland were one of four expansion teams brought in for the 1995 season.

Unfortunately for the Crushers they had to compete with big guns and local rivals the Brisbane Broncos, and without similar support they claimed two wooden spoons in their three years in the competition. The only one of the four expansion teams to play in the ARL competition in 1997, South Queensland were excluded from the newly formed National Rugby League at the end of that year.

Against the Crushers, Souths won the first three contests, but the fourth and final clash was filled with controversy. In Round 18 of the 1997 season, the Rabbitohs travelled to Suncorp Stadium with both teams coming into the match on month long losing streaks. The home side managed a close 17-16 win through a Craig Wilson field goal after Souths skipper Darrell Trindall was sent off for a high tackle.

University (1920-1937)

 Played Won Lost For Against Draw %
South Sydney Rabbitohs  36  35  1011  299  97

After dominating the rugby union competition in Sydney, University switched codes in 1920 and joined the NSWRL premiership. Although they had plenty of potential, the Students usually wallowed at the bottom of the ladder, and they never beat South Sydney during their 18 years in the competition.

They did manage to reach the 1926 final after disposing of Glebe to qualify, but ran up against a red-hot Souths side. The Rabbitohs got away to an 11-nil lead, but were held scoreless as Uni came back after Souths forward Eddie Root was sent off in the second half for being involved in a number of incidents in the tense final. But the resilient Red and Greens held on for an 11-5 victory to claim their sixth premiership.

The closest University ever got to defeating the mighty Cardinal and Myrtle was in Round 13, 1933, finishing with a 20-all draw after leading 20-12 in the second half.

After consistently losing players and with on-field performance deteriorating (they won only two games in their last four season), University voluntarily withdrew from the NSWRL after 1937, but still compete in various NSWRL competitions, including the NSWRL Inter-District competition, Second Division and Metropolitan League. 

University are currently competing in the NSW Tertiary Rugby League competition and will celebrate it's 100th year in 2020. 

It is important to note that the University club are not affiliated in any way with the current Sydney University rugby union club competing in the Shute Shield. 

Western Reds/Perth Reds (1995-1997)

 Played Won Lost For Against%
South Sydney Rabbitohs  52  55 33

Rugby League has been played competitively since 1948 in Western Australia, and although it didn't reach the popularity it has on the east coast, the sport was more successful in Perth than it was in Melbourne or Adelaide.

As the 20th century drew to a close, the NSWRL expanded into the west, and in 1992 announced that a Perth-based side would enter the competition in 1995, named the Perth Pumas (later changed to the Western Reds).

After losing 19-14 to the Reds in Sydney during the 1995 pre-season competition, the Rabbitohs travelled to WA in Round 12, going down similarly 18-14 at the Western Australian Cricket Ground.

But Souths would get revenge in the same round the following year on their own turf at Redfern Oval, winning 24-18. The match wasn't without controversy though, as coach Ken Shine questioned the tactics of the Reds players, and specifically prop Rodney Howe, who took out half Craig Field after just 12 minutes with a high tackle.

Having defected to the rebel Super League competition the Reds felt the sting of the merger with the ARL at the end of 1997, with inconsistent results and financial troubles leading to their demise after just three seasons.

However, in an interesting twist to the tale of Rugby League in the west, the NRL has kept its presence in Perth with the Rabbitohs taking a match to the Western Australia capital from the 2009 season.

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