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A Year In The Making

What a difference one year makes.

From finishing in 12th position at the end of 2017, the 2018 season has proved to be a breath of fresh air, with the Rabbitohs rocketing up to the top four for the first time since 2014.

Here are some of the biggest changes between now and then.

 

Winning Attitude

With both improved defence and attack, there's no surprise the side has gone on to make the finals, with huge improvements all over the park.

In 2018 the side has turned 9 victories into 16, averaging 5 more points per game scored and has lowered their average conceded points by 5.3. The Rabbitohs of 2018 have also scored 20 more tries, becoming the best attacking side in the competition.

The side has also used four fewer players than in 2017, with 12 players playing 20 or more games.

With a full-strength lineup primed for the finals, this is a side that knows how to win.

 

Cementing Their Spots 

Alex Johnston, Damien Cook and Cody Walker all moved across the field in 2017, never quite settling into one position long enough to get to their best.

But this year, Johnston has nailed down the fullback position, Cody Walker has remained at his preferred role as five-eighth and after getting consistent 80-minute performances, Damien Cook is now a representative hooker.

With three-quarters of the spine settled and firing together, it certainly helps the side's cause and is one reason they now sit in the top four.

 

The GI and Gagai Factor

Inglis' long road to recovery

There's no doubt that the loss of Greg Inglis for the season last year was a huge blow. So when he returned to the field and brought his mate Dane Gagai around for 2018, we knew something special was bound to happen.

Inglis has recaptured his form, scoring 8 tries in 16 games and averaging 130.8 metres per game, while Dane Gagai has proved to be a handful for his opposition with 89 tackle breaks and 10 try assists.

The pair has formed one of the most dangerous centre combinations in the competition, and with their big game experience will be invaluable at the end of the season.

 

Tactical Periodisation

Never say die - Murray

One of Coach Anthony Seibold's most emphasised philosophies and techniques has been Tactical Periodisation – the most effective and efficient manner of going from attack into defence and vice versa in match conditions.

The practice has certainly proved to be useful at times this season, particularly in the Good Friday clash and the side's Round 11 victory against the North Queensland Cowboys, where victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat.

The NRL finals series is a different beast from the regular season, and it could prove to be the difference between rising to glory and a fall from grace.

 

Burgess Brothers In Career-Best Form

The competitions' favourite brothers have hit some great form in 2018.

In one season George has gone from averaging 92.8 metres to 103.7 metres per game, playing all 24 matches of the regular season - and grown out some luscious locks to boot.

Thomas averages 114.4 and has scored the most tries in a season in his career with five.

Elder brother Sam has continued his stellar form averaging 146.6 metres with the ball in hand and offloading 35 times.

The trio have now cemented starting spots and will be fired up for another finals appearance after two years' absence.

 

Rookies One Year Better

The rise of the rookies has been understated, to say the least.

With a core group of youngsters such as Angus Crichton (22), Cameron Murray (20), Campbell Graham (19), Robert Jennings (22), Braidon Burns (22), Tyrell Fuimaono (22), Adam Doueihi (19), Junior Tatola (21), Mawene Hiroti (18) and Dean Britt (24) all debuting in the last two years, the experience they have gained is now invaluable.

Crichton, Jennings and Tatola have gone on to play representative football this year, while Murray, Graham and Doueihi have made their presence known in the top 17, all cementing spots in the side.

The likes of Burns, Fuimaono, Hiroti and Britt have featured in first grade throughout the year as well, proving the South Sydney production line is humming along nicely for the future.

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