It may not have been a win for Jason Demetriou in his first official game as Rabbitohs head coach but he’ll leave Brisbane with confidence for the season ahead, despite South Sydney falling to a 11-4 loss against the Broncos.
Losing Blake Taaffe on the eve of the season opener was bound to hurt the Rabbitohs attack but overall Demetriou was content with his side’s attitude and effort in a late backline reshuffle.
“The scoreboard put us under pressure, we needed to be more patient with the footy. It’s round one, we’re starting again, we’ve got to build our season… we had to do that last year and we’ve got to do that this year,” head coach Jason Demetriou said.
NRL Press Conference: Broncos v Rabbitohs - Round 1, 2022
Young halfback Lachlan Ilias plays a huge role in one of South Sydney’s biggest positional changes in place of the departed Adam Reynolds. In just his third NRL appearance and first game of the season Demetriou said time will be key in his development alongside halves counterpart Cody Walker.
Match Highlights: Broncos v Rabbitohs
“I thought he was pretty good, he’s learning and he’s going to keep learning all the time but he defended really well which is a big part of his game, I think he can own his kicking a bit more but other than that it was a good start for him.
“It’s a work in progress, we have to hold the ball, it puts pressure on our young half,” Demetriou added.
Early season fatigue and putting new combinations into action made for an up and down affair. But their were obvious improvements from the first two trials as the club look to build their 2022 season under a new coach, a new captain and a new halfback.
“We’ve got to build our season, there’s no doubt about that, we’ve got some changes in key people but I was really happy defensively with how we kept turning up so we’ve got to bottle that and sharpen our attack a little bit.”
Alex Johnson proved he can step up and make an impact when called on but the Rabbitohs will revel in the return of star fullback Latrell Mitchell in next week’s round two clash against Melbourne.