Seven Tackle Set - 7 talking points from 2018

With season 2018 finally over, now's the time to look back on seven of the biggest talking points from the South Sydney Rabbitohs' campaign.

  

1. Seibold Shakes Things Up

Rookie coach Anthony Seibold proved to be one of the biggest surprises of 2018, transforming an underperforming side into premiership contenders.

Taking a 12th placed Rabbitohs into the top four with a relatively unchanged squad, Seibs shook things up and implemented his own coaching initiative and style into the side, which turned Souths into the competitions' entertainers.

To cap it all off, Seibold took out the Dally M Coach of the Year after his first season at the helm.

 

2. Attacking Machine

With a change in playing style and a new attacking outlook, the Rabbitohs not only shot up to the top four, but managed to become the best attacking side in the competition.

In 28 matches Souths scored a whopping 627 points, cracking the 600-point mark for the first time in the Club's history, whilst also scoring 104 tries.

The side also made the most linebreaks (132), linebreak assists (92), most run metres (43, 146) and made the most kick return metres (5131) in the competition by a fair margin as well.

Not only did it lead to plenty of victories, but it also made the Cardinal and Myrtle the most exciting team to watch in the competition, scoring plenty of scintillating four-pointers.

 

3. The Rise of Damien Cook

 
 
 
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Everything's better with Titanic music. 🎶🚢❤️💚 Especially this try by @damiencook91. 👏 #GoRabbitohs

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The journey of Damien Cook is an inspirational one. Arriving at the Club in 2016 after being in and out of reserve grade, Cook still had competition in the form of Cameron McInnes and Robbie Farah at Redfern.

But in 2018 the former beach sprinting champion finally got his chance as a full-time 80-minute hooker, and hasn't looked back.

In 25 games, Cook averaged 104 running metres, laid on seven tries, nine linebreaks and nine linebreak assists while scoring four blistering tries himself. In defence he was just as effective, making 1060 tackles (averaging 42 per game) at a 91.6% efficiency.

The competition's most improved player also earned a State of Origin call up, helping the Blues to their first series victory since 2014 and put in three stellar performances to boot.

The cherry on top came as he was named the Dally M Hooker of the Year and earned himself the Provan and Summons People's Choice Award as their player of the year.

 

4. Young Guns Prove Themselves

If the performance of the younger players is anything to go by, then the future of the Rabbitohs is looking brighter than a thousand suns.

The likes of Campbell Graham, Robert Jennings, Cameron Murray, Junior Tatola and Adam Doueihi had memorable seasons, and when called upon, Braidon Burns, Tyrell Fuimaono and Mawene Hiroti looked like seasoned first-graders.

Jennings eventually topped the try-scoring charts for the Club, with an incredible 19 tries in 21 appearances, while his wing partner Graham put in some powerhouse performances particularly in the back-end of the year.

Doueihi and Tatola brought plenty punch and enthusiasm off the bench, and in their limited appearances Burns, Fuimaono and Hiroti did not look out of place at all.

A special mention has to go out to Murray, who was particularly phenomenal in the finals series and played well above his weight.

With another year under their belts, expect some breakout performances in 2019 and beyond.

 

5. The Streak

 
 
 
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CLOUD NINE. Club song gets another airing! 🐇❤️💚🎤 #GoRabbitohs #NRLBulldogsSouths

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The beginning of May until the end of July was a magic period as the side pulled off a phenomenal nine-game winning streak - their longest since 1989.

From Round 9 until Round 18 the Rabbitohs found their groove and pulled off some incredible victories, including an inspired victory over the ladder leading Dragons in Round 10, two last-gasp victories against the Cowboys in Round 11 and 16 respectively, and the Round 13 underdog victory against the high-flying Sharks with representative players out of the side.

It was definitely one of the highlights of the season, and one that fans can look fondly back on when talking of season 2018.

 

 6. GI's Back

 

One of the best sights for season 2018 - for league lovers everywhere - was Greg Inglis' return from injury.

After nearly a year on the sidelines, the inspirational skipper made his return to the field in the Charity Shield, and eventually went on to make 19 appearances for the Club throughout the season.

Though many doubted his ability to get back to his best, Inglis did so whilst leading his side into the top four, taking over the Queensland captaincy and scoring 10 tries for the season.

Truly one of the best stories to come from 2018.

 

7. Proving the Doubters Wrong

 
 
 
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Them feels. ❤️💚🐇🙌 @jenno_3 #GoRabbitohs #NRLSouthsDragons #NRLFinals #MadeForGlory

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For me personally, this is my biggest point to take from 2018.

After two 12th placed finishes in a row, with captain Inglis coming off a big injury layoff and a new rookie coach with a relatively unchanged squad, few people gave the Rabbitohs any chance to make the finals, let alone the top four. Not to mention the doubt over key players performances.

But as they have on so many occasions, Souths rose to the occasion and proved the doubters wrong.

Finishing as the best-attacking side and ending the season in third place - only missing out on the Minor Premiership on points difference - the mighty Rabbitohs were deservedly one of the best teams in the competition.

With plenty of positives to come from our 110th year, season 2019 is shaping up to be even better.

 

Honourable Mentions

John Sutton Cracks 300 Game Mark
Burgess' Barrel Opponents
Jason Clark Caps Off 10-Year Rabbitohs Career
Sam Commits and New Junior Pathways
Rabbitohs Women's Team

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