The Rabbitohs and the Sharks have played out plenty of classic matches since first meeting in 1967, but there aren't too many better than the 1981 Tooth Cup Final at Leichhardt Oval.
1981 - Tooth Cup Final
Boasting a talented roster comprised of the likes of Ziggy Niszczot, Mitch Brennan, Peter Tunks and Charlie Frith, the Rabbitohs put on an intense defensive performance to claim victory over the Sharks. The Rabbitohs were crowned champions of the mid-week competition with the final score 10-2.
The competition, played under lights, saw teams each play two round matches with the best eight progressing to the quarter finals where a random draw was then enforced.
South Sydney went through the round stage with a win over Parramatta, before going down to St George in round two. But the red and greens drew Saints again for the Quarter Finals, and made no mistake with their second attempt at the Dragons. Souths came away with a convincing 23-9 victory before downing Manly 24-13 to earn the right to play Cronulla in the competition Final.
The occasion proved a massive moment for the Club as they searched for their first piece of top-flight silverware since the 1971 Premiership.
In preparation for the clash, then-Rabbitohs Coach, Bill Anderson, created an atmosphere of ‘greatness’ for his players by bringing a long list of Rabbitohs legends as a source of inspiration for his men.
Among the glittering list of legends was Bob McCarthy, John O’Neill, Les Cowie, Bernie Purcell, Gary Stevens, Ernie Hammerton, Brian James, and the Immortal Clive Churchill. Each great was assigned a Rabbitohs player who he travelled with on the bus out to Leichhardt Oval, providing encouragement and advice before the match and during quarters. It would prove a recipe for success as the men in red and green ran out 10-2 victors in an enthralling Final.