Capping off what was a special week for the Club, all eight men’s and women’s teams claimed victory across the board in a fitting way to pay tribute to a Club legend.
NSW Cup Round 4: South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 def Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 12
In what was a gritty contest on both sides of half-time, the NSW Cup side claimed their first win of the season, defeating the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 26-12 at Accor Stadium.
In the first match of the day at Homebush, the Red and Green overcame a short-lived comeback from their opponents, with five-eighth Blake Taaffe starring in the victory.
After taking an early 2-nil lead, errors and ill-discipline prevented both sides from adding to the scoresheet until the 30th minute, where halves Taaffe and Dean Hawkins combined to send winger Richie Kennar over, giving the Rabbitohs a handy 8-nil lead at the break.
The Red and Green continued their charge out the gates on resumption, with centre Josiah Karapani pouncing on a neat grubber from Kennar to extend the lead, but after errors crept in, Blacktown took advantage to bridge the gap.
A long-range kick return from fullback Jacob Gagai swung back momentum, resulting in Tom Carr bagging a four-pointer before Taaffe took it upon himself to burst through and reach out to score soon after.
Holding off their opponents' raids, a penalty goal in the dying stages sealed the result, with the Rabbitohs marching to a 26-12 victory and their first for the 2023 season.
Rabbitohs Head of Elite Pathways and Development and NSW Cup Head Coach, Joe O'Callaghan, spoke following the gritty win.
"The first half showed there were two teams desperate for their first win of the season and there were some nervous out there," O'Callaghan said.
"But we handled the situation better and got into a real rhythm. I’ve been challenging the boys to cut down on penalties and ill discipline and it showed.
"We got better field position than we have had over the last few weeks, and our halves Dean Hawkins and Blake Taaffe gained some more experience with another game under their belt together.
"Having the 14-day break until the Bulldogs, we will hopefully get a few more troops in the NRL squad and that will have a positive flow-on effect on the NSW Cup side."
The Rabbitohs NSW Cup side have the bye in Round 5, and will return to the field at Accor Stadium in another triple-header alongside the NRL and Jersey Flegg Cup teams on Good Friday.
Jersey Flegg Cup Round 4: South Sydney Rabbitohs 25 def Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22
It was another close affair for the Jersey Flegg Cup side, who held off a fast-finishing Manly outfit to claim their second win of the season, prevailing 25 points to 22 at Accor Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Rabbitohs were down early after the Sea Eagles struck first, but a three-try-blitz in a seven-minute period saw Samuel Jinks, Romano Cook and Jude Saldanha all find themselves on the scoresheet.
While their opponents returned serve soon after, a field goal to halfback Joseph Nohra with one minute remaining in the first half saw the Red and Green take a handy 19-12 lead heading into the sheds.
A try to Leon Te Hau in the 52nd minute extended the lead to eleven, but in a frustrating final ten minutes, Manly touched down twice to bridge the gap, with a penalty goal leaving the final scoreline at 25-22 in favour of South Sydney.
In what was no doubt a learning curve for the young side, the Rabbitohs notched up another win, with the forward pack particularly impressive throughout the match.
Much like the NSW Cup side, the Jersey Flegg Cup Rabbitohs will enjoy a break this week with the bye, before returning to Accor Stadium on Good Friday in a triple-header against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Harvey Norman Women's Premiership Round 8: South Sydney Rabbitohs 14 def Wentworthville Magpies 12
After a season filled with plenty of close calls, the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership side came away with a last-minute 14-12 victory against the Wentworthville Magpies at Redfern Oval on Saturday.
Looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat, the Red and Green got the ball rolling just three minutes into the contest through inspirational Captain Patricia Raikadroka.
Wentworthville hit back 20 minutes in, and while a try late in the first half to NRLW star and Papua New Guinea Captain Elsie Albert handed the visitors a 10-6 lead, the Rabbitohs failed to let up in the second stanza.
Winger Paige Knapp continued her rich vein of form to dot down in the 46th minute, and following a Wentworthville sin-binning, the Red and Green regained the lead through a penalty goal.
The Magpies leveled with just nine minutes left on the clock, and following a tense finish, a second penalty goal to Makayla Eli gave the Rabbitohs a 14-12 advantage, which saw them hang on to secure their second victory of 2023.
O'Callaghan had plenty of praise for the side following the win, citing the marked improvement over the last twelve months.
"Coach Shane Sultana and his staff have done a sensational job throughout the season, and it marks a significant improvement from the side we had last year that had some big scorelines put on them," O'Callaghan said.
"In their losses this year, the biggest margin has been just ten points, and with quite a young and inexperienced squad, they have challenged the more fancied sides that have NRLW players to rely on.
"It was a good reward for the effort they have put in following some really closely-fought losses."
The Harvey Norman Women's Premiership side will return to Redfern Oval on Saturday to face the St George Dragons at 1:30pm alongside the other Pathways teams.
SG Ball Cup Round 8: South Sydney Rabbitohs 29 def Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 28
It was one for the ages and a long-awaited victory for the SG Ball Cup side, who rallied to defeat the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 29-28 at Redfern Oval after trailing by three converted tries.
The young Rabbitohs side got the two competition points the hard way, and found themselves with a mountain to climb early on, down 16-nil after as many minutes before second rower Drew Williams crossed.
Fullback Dane Towns found himself on the board just before the break to bridge the gap to six, but a quick flurry of tries to the visitors saw the Rabbitohs staring down the barrel of another defeat as they trailed by eighteen points.
Showing plenty of resilience, centre Jonti Morshead-Feildel scored next for the Cardinal and Myrtle, and after Towns crossed for his second, it was game-on heading into an intense final ten minutes at Redfern.
Morshead-Feildel bagged his second with just minutes remaining, with the scores leveled thanks to Towns' conversion, and Captain TJ Herring stepped up to the plate to nail a field goal in the final minute to seal an emphatic 29-28 win. O'Callaghan paid tribute to the side, who have battled through plenty of adversity in what has been a tough 2023 campaign.
"I don’t think their ladder position truly shows the effort of the group," he said.
"They have been very unlucky this season with injuries, and have used nearly 40 players throughout in a competition that has only had eight games so far.
"It shows how much the jersey really means to them. They could have easily given up a few weeks ago with every excuse under the sun, but they showed plenty of resilience out there for the win.
"Anyone who watches the highlights can see how much it meant to them when the field goal went over, and hopefully John Sutton and his side can finish off the year with a win this week."
The SG Ball side will play their final match of the season this Saturday at Redfern Oval against the St George Dragons at 12pm.
Tarsha Gale Cup Round 8: South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 def Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 8
Following two heavy defeats, the Tarsha Gale Cup side bounced back in style with a dominant 30-8 victory over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles on Saturday at Erskineville Oval.
The Cardinal and Myrtle got on the board early through fullback Georgie Coote, and while the Sea Eagles returned serve soon after, a try to winger Bree Stone handed the hosts an 8-4 lead at the break.
Despite having just seventeen fit players for the match due to mass injuries, the Rabbitohs continued their momentum, shooting out of the blocks in the second half to pile on three tries in eight minutes for a comprehensive lead.
While Manly hit back with a try of their own, front rower Shyla Mundine's try put the cherry on top for the Red and Green, who prevailed 30-8 in a dominant performance.
"It was a great bounce back following two tough defeats for the side," O'Callaghan stated.
"There were only seventeen fit players from a squad of 24, and we actually had to get an exemption to field some of our Lisa Fiola Cup players to step up and take the field.
"I have to give a big wrap to the group and the playing staff for putting on such a performance under that kind of adversity, and they have one match to go, so hopefully they can cap off their season with a win."
The Tarsha Gale Cup Rabbitohs will play their final match of the season on Saturday afternoon when they host the Canberra Raiders at Redfern Oval, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Harold Matthews Cup Round 8: South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 def Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 12
The Harold Matthews Cup side has continued their strong form to claim a 30-12 victory over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Redfern Oval, keeping their undefeated run to five consecutive matches.
Coming off the back of a solid win against Balmain last week, the Red and Green were under the pump early after their opponents touched down in just the first minute, but went on to concede just one more try throughout the contest.
Five-eighth Taylan Black-Berryman scored first for the Rabbitohs in the 17th minute, with winger Charlie Mann and lock Salih Saracoglou joining him in an eight-minute blitz for a 14-6 lead at the break.
Lochlin Moses added plenty of impact from the interchange to extend the lead, before halfback Matthew Humphries added his name to the scoresheet. Although Manly crossed soon after, Captain Braethan Bilich added the cherry on top with a late try to seal a comprehensive 30-12 win.
Heading into their final match of the regular season, Joe O'Callaghan said he was impressed with the side's form as they look to claim a finals berth on Saturday afternoon.
"The side has had a really consistent five-week block, and with a consistent line up they've shown what they can do against some of the highly-touted sides," he said.
"There's a lot that needs to go their way if they are to make the finals, but they can only control what they can control. No matter the result this weekend, we've been quite proud of this group."
The South Sydney Rabbitohs take the field at 10:30am this Saturday at Redfern Oval against the St George Dragons in a bid to feature in the 2023 Harold Matthews Cup finals series.
Lisa Fiola Cup & Under 16s Development Side
The Lisa Fiola Cup Rabbitohs continued their strong form in the competition, claiming a 20-12 win over the Sea Eagles, while the Under 16s Men's Development side was pipped by Manly, five tries to four.
"It was a solid month of football for our Under 16s, who won three of their four matches and were beaten by just a single try this week," O'Callaghan said following the side's final game of 2023.
"After playing Balmain, Penrith and Cronulla, it’s exciting to see what that crew can do when they graduate to the Harold Matthews competition and continue their development for next year’s program."
The Lisa Fiola Cup side will play their final match of the season this Saturday at Redfern Oval alongside the Harold Matthews Cup, SG Ball Cup, Tarsha Gale Cup and Harvey Norman Women's Premiership teams.
Two teams enjoy the bye heading into this week, while a number of sides play the final match of the regular season, with the Harold Matthews side having a mathematical chance of featuring in the finals:
The NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg Cup sides will have a bye in Round 5, making their return to the field on Good Friday against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a triple-header at Accor Stadium prior to the NRL match.
The SG Ball Cup, Tarsha Gale Cup, Harold Matthews Cup and Lisa Fiola Cup teams will play the final match of the regular season at Redfern Oval from 10:30am, with the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership side also taking the field for their Round 9 match.
The Under 16s Men's Development side has completed their season, with plenty of talent set to feature in the 2024 Harold Matthews competition.
With a number of teams taking the field for the final time in 2023, O'Callaghan had a message for all Rabbitohs Members and supporters.
“I wanted to make a note on all seven of those major competition games on Saturday at the three venues and the great crowds that showed up," he said.
“Jason Demetriou made a point of paying tribute to a Club icon in John Sattler, and I want to give a wrap to family, friends, and Members who turned up to Accor Stadium, Marcellin Fields, and Redfern Oval to get our teams home.
“I encourage all Members and supporters to make sure to get out to Redfern Oval this Saturday and cheer on our sides for their last matches of the season."