It was a high-scoring, back and forth thriller up on the Central Coast, and even though the final result was a narrow loss, there were plenty of positives to take out from the Rabbitohs’ first outing of 2023.

Hosty’s Long-Awaited Return

While there were plenty of new faces within the Rabbitohs outfit from Friday night, it was the return of stand-in Captain Jacob Host that many were looking forward to.

In a big boost following a long stint on the sidelines, Host punched out a strong shift through the middle of the field in his first match since mid-May last year.

The bustling second rower was particularly busy in the opening stages of the match, inspiring his fellow forwards with his carries and showing class in defence to deny Christian Tuipulotu from scoring while over the line.

Although he entertained during his time off the field on Hosty’s Game Time, he was sorely missed as part of the forward rotation, and his return to the field in 2023 is something that will have fans excited.

Young Rabbits Get a Run

One of the highlights ahead of every NRL season is seeing the next generation of South Sydney stars get their opportunity to impress on the first-grade stage – and the crop of youngsters did not disappoint in the Cardinal and Myrtle.

In the rookie camp, five-eighth Dion Teaupa put on a stirring performance highlighted by a brace, hard-hitting lock Tallis Duncan caught the ire of many with his efforts in attack and defence, while a number of others made an impression in the famous Cardinal and Myrtle.

Other youngsters with NRL experience included hooker Peter Mamouzelos, who topped the tackle count with 35, front rower Davvy Moale, who punched out over 100 metres and nearly found himself on the scoresheet, while Blake Taaffe was heavily involved in a number of tries, even scoring one himself early in the second half.

The match was a glimpse into the future that showed plenty of promise, highlighting the strength of the South Sydney production line for years to come.
Davvy Moale running hard.

Taaffe Takes Charge

Still only 23 years of age, Blake Taaffe was one of the more experienced players on the field, and showed his control with a commanding performance throughout the 80 minutes at both fullback and in the halves.

Taaffe injected himself into the contest early, charging onto a wayward kick to put his side into position to score the first try of the match, before his quick hands sent Tom Carr away to provide the third four-pointer of the night.

In the second stanza, his work in the halves proved to be just as potent for the side, being rewarded with a try of his own from a towering kick, before providing a deft touch that pinned Manly behind their in-goal with the poise of a ten-year veteran.

In the midst of a strong pre-season so far, Taaffe will be out to impress once again in next week’s Charity Shield in a bid to cement a spot in Jason Demetriou’s side ahead of Round 1.

Teaupa’s Terrific 20-Minute Tear

One of the real stories from the match, young five-eighth Dion Teaupa caught plenty of attention with his two-try performance – made even more incredible considering he scored his brace and set up another in a 20-minute period.

Still eligible for the Jersey Flegg side, Teaupa would have been a surprise inclusion for many Members and supporters but proved why he’s one to watch, starting with his deft grubber kick to supply Tom Carr with the opening try.

Just minutes later, his boot provided more points when he kicked ahead, cleverly finding the goalpost padding which saw the Steeden bounce up perfectly into his hands, and it was not long before Carr provided the final pass for him to bag his double.

Going on to play the entirety of the match, adding a forced line drop out and coming close to executing a 40/20, the performance will certainly give him a confidence boost heading into the 2023 season.
Dion Teaupa scores a double

Rabbitohs Tenacious in Tough Conditions

Playing matches in early February can lead to less-than-ideal conditions, and although Friday night saw the humidity rise above 90%, the young Rabbitohs made the most of a tough situation in the first contest of the year.

In the sweltering heat, the Red and Green put in a wholehearted performance that would make any long-standing Member and supporter proud. A crop of the Club’s next generation slogged through and created some memorable highlights in the process.

No doubt that the coaching staff will be impressed by the discipline in attack the side showed, as the men from Redfern racked up a solid 73% completion rate, with just nine errors – with five of those in the first hour of the match.

Thrown an even more difficult task after being down a man heading into the final twelve minutes, the fledgling side galvanized together and showed plenty of fight, which inspired Jarrett Subloo to slice through and score the final try of the match and keep the side in the contest.

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