The Rabbitohs NRL and senior pathways squads are taking shape for Season 2023 with the Rabbitohs players returning to training this month.

Contracted players and train-and-trial hopefuls from the NRL, NSW Cup, NSW Women’s Premiership and Jersey Flegg Cup (U21s men’s) squads have been plying their trade at Erskineville Oval in Erskineville and Pioneers Park in Malabar, beginning preparations for the upcoming season alongside the junior representative squads in the SG Ball Cup (U19s men’s), Tarsha Gale Cup (U19s women’s) and Harold Matthews Cup (U17s boys) squads which were announced earlier this year.


The Rabbitohs have finalised their top 30 contracted players as well as three development positions and current train and trial contracts for the pre-season. The Club has also confirmed its NRL coaching structure for the new season.

Rabbitohs Head Coach Jason Demetriou will lead the Rabbitohs into his second season as an NRL Head Coach in 2023, assisted by Ben Hornby, John Morris and Sam Burgess. John Sutton and Joe O’Callaghan will work as development coaches with the squad, with the highly regarded Andrew Croll joining the Club as High Performance Manager.

Burgess has a storied history with the Rabbitohs as a player and will join the NRL coaching ranks after a successful season coaching in grassroots football with the Orara Valley Axemen on the NSW north coast.
“We came so close to achieving our goal this year and it has made us all hungrier to get that premiership success and win number 22 for the Rabbitohs.

Croll joins the Rabbitohs following successful stints with the Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys, Queensland State of Origin, Tonga and the Queensland Academy of Sport.
“We came so close to achieving our goal this year and it has made us all hungrier to get that premiership success and win number 22 for the Rabbitohs.

Rabbitohs Head of Football, Mark Ellison, is very happy with the quality of the players in the squad and the coaching staff leading the football program in 2023.

“We have a quality group of players and coaches here at the Club, from the NRL group right throughout our Pathways system,” Mr Ellison said.

“We have a stable group of players in our top 30 and some exciting prospects coming through as well.

“’JD’ (Jason Demetriou) did a fantastic job this year in his first season as a Head Coach and we’re looking forward to seeing him lead this group again in 2023.

“It will be great to have Sam (Burgess) back on board with the Club, offering his experience to the playing group alongside experienced coaches in Ben (Hornby) and John (Morris).

“Andrew (Croll) is a leader in his field and we’re fortunate to be able to add him to our High Performance team.

Mark Ellison

“We’re really looking forward to the coming season with a settled playing group and top quality coaches to lead them throughout the season.”

Coach Demetriou says it is an honour to lead this group of players and coaches at South Sydney.

“I’m so excited about this season coming up and to be working with this group of people will be unreal,” Coach Demetriou said.

“We’ve got a great rapport amongst the whole playing and coaching group and it has been great to add Sam and Andrew to the crew. Sam’s contribution to the Club as a player is well documented and he is adding great value as a coach as well. I’ve had the privilege of working with Andrew before at the Cowboys and Broncos and he is one of the best, if not the best, in his field of high performance.

Jason Demetriou

“We’re all committed, across NRL and all of the Pathways grades, to working hard and getting the best out of the playing groups as we work towards our combined goals of winning premierships and preparing players to play at the highest levels of their potential

“Our 2023 pre-season is underway and we can’t wait to get more players back to training, as well as getting to represent our Members, supporters and communities that support South Sydney and Souths Cares all year round.”

The 2023 NRL top 30 contracted squad is:

Jai Arrow, Thomas Burgess, Jed Cartwright, Michael Chee Kam, Damien Cook, Campbell Graham, Siliva Havili, Dean Hawkins, Jacob Host, Lachlan Ilias, Alex Johnston, Terrell Kalo Kalo, Josiah Karapani, Liam Knight, Keaon Koloamatangi, Ben Lovett, Peter Mamouzelos, Taane Milne, Latrell Mitchell, Shaquai Mitchell, Davvy Moale, Cameron Murray, Hame Sele, Daniel Suluka Fifita, Blake Taaffe, Isaiah Tass, Junior Tatola, Leon Te Hau, Izaac Thompson, Cody Walker.

The 2023 NRL Development players are:

Tallis Duncan, Jye Gray & Tyrone Munro.

The 2023 train and trial players include:

Cody Hodge & Richie Kennar

NRL Coaching Staff:
NRL Head Coach: Jason Demetriou
NRL Assistant Coach: Ben Hornby
NRL Assistant Coach: John Morris
NRL Assistant Coach: Sam Burgess
NRL Development Coach: John Sutton
NRL Development Coach: Joe O’Callaghan
High Performance Manager: Andrew Croll


Rabbitohs Head of Elite Pathways and Player Development, Joe O’Callaghan, says the Club is looking to improve on results from the 2022 season as well as to provide opportunities for players to excel in their own age group before progressing into higher grades.

“We’ve worked hard to put together competitive squads at pathways levels for 2023,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“We want to win football games, however we also want to provide the best opportunities for players at our Club to develop as footballers and as people, and to progress through the grades so they can reach their potential.

“One of the ways we’ll be doing that this year is making sure our players excel at their own age group before progressing into higher grades. We found last season we elected to, and sometimes needed to, bring players up through the grades before they were ready. For example, 2022 was a difficult year for our Flegg team, but we’ve tried to stay as loyal as we can to the guys that performed at or close to their best week-in and week-out for 2023. We had ten players from last year’s final round squad still eligible to play SG Ball at the time, so we’re looking forward to that year’s experience helping them develop their games to take the step up to the Flegg level in 2023.

“Another tool we use is our Black Rabbits Elite Player Development program. We have academies set up in Sydney and south-east Queensland, and these programs have been producing quality players for the Club.

“Going into our fourth year of the Black Rabbits program, we’ve seen ten players in our full time NRL program in 2023 come through the Black Rabbits system.

“We have another eight current Black Rabbits doing NRL pre-season training, getting the experience of training full-time at an NRL level for between 8-16 weeks this pre-season.

“These are all valuable experiences for our players and we envision all of them to play NRL for our Club at some stage in the future if they work hard and reach their potential.”

A new initiative being brought into the Club’s NSW Cup squad for 2023 is the A-grade portability program, which will see players from South Sydney Juniors clubs having the opportunity to train and potentially play with the NSW Cup squad throughout the year.

“This is something we’ve worked on closely with Souths Juniors, giving players in the local competition the opportunity to train and perhaps play at the NSW Cup level alongside players from our NRL system,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“We believe this will build a greater pathway and reward players from the local competition with access to coaching and training with the professional club, as well as strengthen our ties with Souths Juniors. We may find a ‘diamond in the rough’ who can now have the opportunity to represent South Sydney on the NSW Cup stage throughout the season.”

O’Callaghan says the pathways at South Sydney are growing stronger every year.

“We’ve made a commitment to be a Club that develops players from within, players that have a heart-share in representing South Sydney, and we’re seeing that more and more in both our male and female teams,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“We can’t wait to see how the squads go this season and we all look forward to representing South Sydney with pride in 2023.”



Jacob Gagai – a centre or fullback that returns this year with the opportunity to train with the NRL program throughout the pre-season. Very experienced at this level and is a leader amongst the team having had the opportunity to captain the side at stages in 2022.

Shannon Gardiner – clever utility player that played every game for the NSW Cup squad last season. This is his third year at NSW Cup level and he is becoming a senior player within the squad.

Hugo Patterson – front rower or lock that had a breakout year last year. He played every game in his first year at NSW Cup level and will be pushing to become a regular starter in 2023.
“We came so close to achieving our goal this year and it has made us all hungrier to get that premiership success and win number 22 for the Rabbitohs.


Ethan O’Neill – a second rower coming off a successful season with the Central Queensland Capras in the QLD Cup last season. Has played 28 games of QLD Cup football, scoring nine tries. Has Rabbitohs pedigree being the son of former Australian and Queensland State of Origin player Julian O’Neill. Has the opportunity to train as part of the NRL pre-season.

Jarrett Subloo – a former full-time player with the Canberra Raiders, joins the Rabbitohs in 2023 as a five-eighth from Mounties in the NSW Cup competition.

Tom Carr – Highly experienced winger from the North Sydney Bears. Noted try scorer having been the second top try scorer last year behind our own Izaac Thompson. Has played 67 games for the Bears since 2016, scoring 50 tries.
“We came so close to achieving our goal this year and it has made us all hungrier to get that premiership success and win number 22 for the Rabbitohs.

The 2023 NSW Cup contracted playing squad is:

Tristan Alvarado, Tom Carr, Maila Chanfoon, Chase Chapman, Jacob Gagai, Lachlan Gale, Shannon Gardiner, Thomas Giles, Yileen Gordon, D’Arcy Hardman, Tyson Hodge, Ethan O’Neill, Hugo Patterson, Trent Peoples, Chaise Robinson, Leonard Skelton, Jarrett Subloo.

NSW Cup train-and-trial A-grade portability players are:

Bayleigh Bentley-Hape (South Eastern Seagulls), Che Hyslop (La Perouse Panthers), Kurt Lovett (Coogee Dolphins), Matthew Makk (Mascot Jets), Lukas Margaritis (Coogee-Randwick Wombats), Marco Moretti (Matraville Tigers), Ezekiel Phillips (Redfern All Blacks), Zac Makelim (La Perouse Panthers).

NSW Cup Coaching Staff:
NSW Cup Head Coach: Joe O’Callaghan
NSW Cup Assistant Coach: Jason Dorahy
NSW Cup Development Coach: Beau Falloon

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