Now a lot of the chat in the off-season was that with the departure of Sam Burgess, George Burgess and John Sutton (A total of 667 NRL Games) the young forwards coming through ultimately lack experience and would not have what it takes to get the job done. Boy, oh boy were they wrong!
Both Thomas Burgess and Junior Tatola have had break-out years and have laid platforms to allow Damien Cook and the South Sydney backline to flourish off the back of it. While the backline receive all the praise, time-and-time again they credit the forwards for allowing them to stay in the arm wrestle and get in the right positions to attack. It's this 'no frills' mentality, to get through the dirty work that sees the big men as Sustained Performers.
For the team at Hostplus, sustained performance means delivering strong investment returns to their members over the long term. It’s the same for the Rabbitohs, it’s not just one great game - it’s about consistently bringing your best, game after game, season after season.
Sustained Performers - ‘UP FRONT’ - Thomas Burgess and Junior Tatola
In arguably the best form of his career, Thomas Burgess has led from the front in 2020; almost as if he has a newfound identity following the departure of his brothers at the end of last season.
While Burgess has shown consistency throughout the year, where he truly epitomises ‘Sustained Performance’ is in his stints. By this we mean, his second 25 minute stint is just as good as his first.
You can’t have one without the other though and his partner in crime, Junior Tatola, has continued to mature as a first grader now in his third season.
Junior set the tempo in the opening game against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks running for a whopping 150 metres in the first 25 minutes alone!
This year Tatola averages 126 metres and is joint-first for the best tackle efficiency percentage (alongside Damien Cook) at 93.7%.
Tatola piles on more misery for Knights
Sustained Performers - X Factors - Keaon Koloamatangi and Hame Sele
It can be argued that the ‘go-forward’ provided by our Bench has been just as important as the platform the starting forwards lay in the opening exchanges of the match.
The reason being is, the Rabbitohs forward pack do not diminish when the bench come on, they in fact add spark to the team including quick play-the-balls and plenty of post-contact metres.
Koloamatangi extends the lead for South Sydney
The two rising stars from the bench being Keaon Koloamatangi and Hame Sele. One; a debutant, the other was playing park footy last season and together they are a formidable combination adding the ‘one-two’ punch the Rabbitohs so desperately need.
Koloamatangi averages 107 metres from just 35 minutes a game and has only missed three tackles from 190 attempts!
Sustained Performers - Mr. Versatile - Cameron Murray
Cameron Murray has really progressed as the season has gone on. After experimenting on the edge in the early part of the season, Cameron continues to prove his versatility even filling in at left centre and at dummy half from time-to-time.
Cameron Murray screams Sustained Performer just through his ability to do the hard yards, get quick play the balls and show effort-on-effort with his defence.
Reynolds provides the spark, Murray gets the points
What often goes unnoticed with Cameron Murray is his subtle ability to ball-play where he often tips on, reloads then takes the next carry, By doing this he get his defender isolated and then also puts him in two minds the next time he takes the ball up.
A great sign of sustained performance is what you do off the ball. Cameron Murray has shown a unique ability to be at the right place at the right time; often scooping up the scraps but it’s purely based on effort and the desire to be there. His last three tries this season have been through supporting up the middle of the field or pouncing on a ricocheted kick in the in-goal.