It's no secret in the Rugby League world that Rabbitohs fans are a little different. They'd have to be - they are the people of the people's team, the flood of red and green pouring down George Street in defiance of the biggest, meanest end of town that tried to tear their pride and joy from them!
Well in the middle of that, standing Proudest and most certainly Loudest (Oldest, Proudest, Loudest) are the Burrow. The Burrow has been there for the highest highs and the lowest lows that South Sydney has endured and achieved. They’re the first in the Stadium, uncovered and undeterred by the rain.
They watch every grade of Rabbitohs football, every week. They’re more than just supporters, they optimise the Rabbitohs community. They’re the volunteers, the fighters, and are the very fabric from which ‘The Pride of the League’ is stitched.
What the Burrow understand, perhaps better than any other supporter, is that the 'Rabbitoh Way' is a way of life. They’re different from one another in almost every way, but what binds them together is the red and green in their veins. They are a family, and they know that when your family needs you, you have to be there.
The magnitude of our current situation is the equal of any hardship we’ve endured in the past. We as a community are once again fighting for our survival against a common foe. Once again, in the middle of that fight, loud and proud, stand the Burrow.
It’ll feel like losing a family member if we were to lose our Club again. We promised ourselves we’d never go through that again.Damien Batty Member No. 676280
With Club officials preparing for the grim reality that the 2020 season would be suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Shannon Donato was working late in the office looking for any opportunity to protect his Club and his staff from the difficult days ahead.
When his phone rang, with Burrow and group 14 (the group at the core of the Rabbitohs fightback) spokesman Jerry Lissing, Member no. 216, flashing across the screen.
Jerry's only question to Shannon was, "How can we help?"
In the turbulent two weeks since that call, the Burrow have once again gone above and beyond in the service of their Club. They’ve raised $5,000 at their annual dinner that would normally be used to create the banners that they are famous for, and have spearheaded a fundraising campaign with the aim of saving as many of the jobs of SSFC staff Members who have been stood down due to the pandemic and when asked why? It’s simple; “It doesn’t matter what type of Membership you hold, where you live or how many games you go to, you’re all part of us because we’re all part of the Rabbitohs."
“As a Burrow we consider all Rabbitohs Members part of us,” Says fearless leader of the Burrow, Michelle Booth, Member no. 13760.
“It doesn’t matter what type of Membership you hold, where you live, how many games you go to you’re all part of us because we’re all part of the Rabbitohs.
"It’s about being part of something that’s bigger than yourself and knowing that we’re all in this together.”
In addition to raising funds, the Burrow had a simple message for the Rabbitohs administrators when they first approached them. “We’re with you no matter what.”
Through their conversations with the other Rabbitohs faithful, they had identified a common sentiment; that no matter what happened with the season in 2020 - Rabbitohs Members did not want a refund.
They understand that Membership is the lifeblood of the Club and that by standing firm in this dark hour, Members could help to stem the flow of financial burden being born by the Club. It is that South Sydney spirit - that ‘role up your sleeves’ mentality, that keeps the Rabbitohs ticking along, quite literally.
There’s no greater sign of love for the Club than pledging your Membership. It’s important we all realise that this is an opt-in, not opt-out. It helps make the Club aware who is happy to pledge and also so we can all celebrate together when it’s done. We own a part of this Club remember, we’re stakeholders.Jerry Lissing Member No. 216
So while other Club’s members are cancelling and calling for refunds in their Clubs hour of need - the Rabbitohs Members are once again proving that they are a little different. They’re a family.
If you are looking for a way to support the Club during this challenge please click here for a number of options.
The Burrow has also called for Members and supporters to record a 20 second video from home on how they are supporting the Rabbitohs at a social distance, by using the hashtags #SSFCTogether and #TheBurrow38.