A total of eight Pathways sides took the field this week, with the NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg beginning their campaigns, the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership and Junior Representative sides completing Round 5, while the Under 16 and Under 18 Development sides also took the field.
NSW Cup Round 1: Newtown Jets 26 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 6
It was a tough start to the NSW Cup side’s 2023 campaign, as they were downed 26-6 by Newtown at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon in what can be described as a brave effort.
The Jets took a 10-nil lead with two tries in quick succession before young back rower Ethan O’Neill crossed for the Rabbitohs after half an hour to bring the scores to 12-6 at the break.
After losing halfback Jarrett Subloo fifteen minutes into the match, the Red and Greens had a tough task ahead of them in the second half, and after Newtown extended their lead 55 minutes in, two late tries secured the result for the home side.
“It was a bit of a tough day in the office, the scoreline didn’t accurately reflect the game,” said Joe O’Callaghan, Rabbitohs Head of Elite Pathways and Development.
“The scoreline was 16-6 at the 75-minute mark, and Newtown scored two tries in the last five minutes following a massive flow of possession, which saw them have 45 sets to our 27.
“Discipline and errors hurt us, but I want to give a massive wrap to the boys because they hung in there against a quality team. There were a lot of guys who had little experience at NSW Cup level and were up against last year’s Minor Premiers.
“We should take a lot of confidence out of that, especially after losing our halfback fifteen minutes into the match, and we’ll take positives heading into our clash with Penrith this week.”
Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Round 5: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
Up against a star-studded Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks outfit, the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Harvey Norman Womens Premiership side was piped 14-10 at Cronulla High School on Saturday afternoon.
Clearly buoyed by the presence of NRL Head Coach Jason Demetriou, who showed his support from the sidelines, the Rabbitohs raced out to a 10-nil lead after just six minutes thanks to tries from Mollie Tagaloa and Charlette Butler.
In a close, back-and-forth contest against a side filled to the brim with NRLW stars, the youthful Rabbitohs were unable to hold their lead, with Cronulla running in to claim a four-point lead at the break, and holding on in a scoreless second half for the victory.
While the final result was a difficult one to accept for the side, they will take plenty of confidence from their marked improvement and resilience shown throughout the season so far, as they look toward the bye in Round 6.
Jersey Flegg Cup Round 1: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 6
The Jersey Flegg Rabbitohs were also subjected to a tough loss in Round 1, downed 24-6 by the Sharks in a contest that saw the Red and Green just pipped by a brace of late tries at Shark Park, prior to the NRL match.
Cronulla struck early before an arm-wrestle ensued, and while the home side bagged a second four-pointer soon after, front rower Louis Grossemy crossed to put the Rabbitohs into the game with a 12-6 scoreline at half-time.
That six-point difference remained for a majority of the second stanza, and while there were plenty of opportunities to find the try-line, errors crept into the South Sydney camp as the Sharks took advantage to score two more tries in the final ten minutes and solidify the result.
The Jersey Flegg side will look to bounce back against Penrith this Saturday afternoon at Penrith Stadium, with a number of SG Ball players looking to make the step up in the coming weeks following the completion of their season.
SG Ball Cup Round 5: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 32 def 16 South Sydney Rabbitohs 16
The SG Ball Cup Rabbitohs continue to push for a maiden victory, but unfortunately, came away from their Round 5 match at Shark Park with a 32-16 defeat against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
In a fast start, the Rabbitohs made their intentions known with Dane Towns and Ryan Casey crossing in quick succession for an early lead, but with Cronulla hitting back before striking right before the break, they found themselves trailing 16-10.
The Red and Greens showed plenty of character in the second half, and while the Sharks extended the scores upon resumption, winger Oliver Juras crossed to bring the ledger back to six points with just over 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
From there, though, ill-discipline cost the side as a send off saw the Rabbitohs down one man, which saw their opponents touch down twice to seal the result, with a 32-16 scoreline hardly reflective of the effort.
John Sutton’s side will take plenty of lessons from their match heading into Round 6 against Penrith, with the likes of Thomas Fletcher and Captain Jye Gray looking to return to the field after long lay-offs.
Tarsha Gale Cup Round 5: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 20 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
The South Sydney Rabbitohs Tarsha Gale Cup side came oh-so-close to claiming a victory against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, in an intense 20-10 result that, much like a number of other games across the weekend, came right down to the wire.
Souths brushed off an early sin-binning to cross first through Cherellyn Tapuai in the 9th minute, and while Cronulla returned serve after taking advantage of numbers, the Rabbitohs broke through again with Tairah Bolatagiti putting the Red and Green in front at the break, 10-6.
Unfortunately, ill-discipline was costly for the Cardinal and Myrtle in the second half, and despite leading with eight minutes remaining, a second player in the bin allowed Cronulla to score twice with the final scoreboard reading 20-10.
A difficult loss considering the circumstances, and arguably a result the side didn’t deserve, the Tarsha Gale Rabbitohs will look to continue their improvement off the back of their return last season against the Penrith Panthers this weekend.
Harold Matthews Cup Round 5: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 drew with Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
The South Sydney Rabbitohs and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks were unable to be separated at full-time in Round 5 of the Harold Matthews Cup, with both sides finishing with a single competition point in an 18-all draw.
Buoyed from their first win of the season last week against Newcastle, a strong performance in the first half put the Rabbitohs in pole position to back up their effort as they led 12-nil thanks to tries to winger Charlie Mann and Captain Daniel Dua.
The Red and Green got the ball rolling in the second half as well through fullback Tylan Black-Berryman, however, a blitz in the final ten minutes from the home side saw their work undone as a goal in the last minute tied up the result.
No doubt there will be plenty of lessons from the fledgling side after letting a big opportunity slip, and will have a chance to return to the winner’s circle in Round 6 when they face the Penrith Panthers.
Lisa Fiola Cup, Under 16s and Under 18s Mens Development Sides
In a weekend showcasing the up-and-coming talent through the Pathways system, the Under 16s and Under 18s Mens Development Sides took to the field for the first time in 2023, while the Lisa Fiola Cup (Womens Under 17s) match was postponed.
The Under 16s Rabbitohs had a dominant victory over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, running in six tries to one in a 24-4 victory, with plenty of talent looking to graduate to the Harold Matthews Cup next year.
The Under 18s match was a great opportunity for a number of the current Harold Matthews squad members to gain much-needed match fitness and face off against older opponents, pipped four tries to one in a solid contest on a weekend filled with plenty of positives for the future.
We head to Penrith this week and follow that up with three games at home, so we’d love to see as many Rabbitohs Members and supporters as we can get to finish off the regular season at Redfern. - Joe O'Callaghan Rabbitohs Head of Elite Pathways and Player Development
A majority of the South Sydney Rabbitohs Pathways sides will come up against the Penrith Panthers this weekend, starting as the NSW Cup kick-off at 5:20pm on Thursday afternoon at Penrith Stadium prior to the NRL match.
The Tarsha Gale Cup, Harold Matthews Cup, SG Ball Cup and Jersey Flegg Cup sides face the Panthers at Penrith Stadium on Saturday from 10am, while the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership side has the bye.
With a month remaining in the Junior Representative competitions and Harvey Norman Womens Premiership for 2023, there will be plenty of opportunities for the young Rabbitohs squads to finish their seasons on a high.
“I can’t emphasise how hard the staff and players are working throughout all our grades,” O’Callaghan stated.
“Our Junior Representative teams are six weeks into their seasons, and while there are some results that not everyone would hope for, you can’t question their work ethic both on the training paddock and on game day.
“They’re all competing and a lot of the final scorelines are not reflecting that. We head to Penrith this week and follow that up with three games at home, so we’d love to see as many Rabbitohs Members and supporters as we can get to finish off the regular season at Redfern.”