South Sydney Player Association (SPA)
In early 2008 former Souths captains Sean Garlick and Mario Fenech established the first South Sydney Past Players’ Association, a financially independent body with its own committee. Its aim is to foster the camaraderie that past players and officials of the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club enjoyed and shared when they were active members of the club in any capacity.
Members are defined as:
Players in 1st, 2nd, 3rd grades and Under 20s, 21s and 23s
Coaching staff (both paid and honorary attached to the above)
- Volunteer staff (trainers, managers, time keepers, statisticians, gear stewards, masseurs, waterboys, mascots and general support staff.)
- Board Members
- Football Club office staff
A comprehensive database of contact details was set up and continually updated, enabling members to be informed of functions and re-unions. Membership is free but members are asked to join the Men Of League organisation.
The name was later changed to Souths Players’ Association and nick-named ‘R-Ageing Rabbits’. The following is a timeline of previously held functions:
- Friday 14 March 2008 at 6pm in the Millenium Room at ANZ Stadium for the opening game of the season between Souths and Roosters. Souths lost 20-34 but the function was well attended and considered successful.
- Friday 26 September 2008 at 12 noon the Sky Lounge Souths Juniors, also well attended.
- Friday 2 October 2009 at 6pm Fox and Lions Hotel, near Fox Studios. By now themes were introduced, this one being 20 years since the winning of the minor premiership, 15 years since the winning of the Tooheys Challenge and 10 years since being expelled from the NRL competition.
- Friday 10 May 2010 at 12 noon, Yarra Bay Sailing Club. This one was the inaugural launch of the R-Ageing Rabbits and name change to SPA.
- Friday 9 July 2010 6pm in the Paddington Room at Sydney Football Stadium for the Round 18 Souths v Roosters clash. Souths went down again 14-18.
- Friday 1 October 2010 at Mr B’s 390 Pitt St, Sydney 1pm.
- Saturday 12 May 2012 at 12 noon in the auditorium of the newly opened Souths Leagues Club, now called Souths On Chalmers. This was a celebration of the Grand Final teams of 1967-71 and to christen the new licensed club. Only 25 players were used in those Grand Finals, and most of them were present at a very well attended function.
- Friday 21 September 2012 at Souths On Chalmers 12 noon with MC Andrew Voss, where the Top 13 most capped first graders were honoured. About 360 attended including current coach Michael Maguire. Comedian Vince Sorrenti entertained the gathering.
- Saturday 29 June 2013 in the games room, Souths Juniors 12 noon. (Unfortunately by now Souths On Chalmers was closed, placed in administration in March 2013). This one was where the ‘past met the present’, with Michael Maguire and most of his squad present due to having a bye that weekend. MC was Steve ‘Chimes ‘Gillis’. Comedian Jason ‘Rash’ Ryder entertained the gathering.
- Friday 8 August 2014 at the Round 22 Souths V Manly game SCG where the past players formed a guard of honour for the first grade team, which recorded an impressive 23-4 victory.
- Friday 5 September 2014 12 noon in the Wintle Room, South Juniors, when the 1989 teams were honoured. 1st grade minor premiers, reserve grade lost a play-off for 5th spot and Under 21s won the grand final over Canberra 23-4. The committee was especially pleased to welcome first grade coach and club legend/stalwart George Piggins. Andrew Voss was again MC.
- Friday 17 April 2015 12 noon at the games room, Souths Juniors when the Captains and Coaches of the last 50 years were honoured. MC Jimmy Smith interviewed many of them on stage.
- On Saturday 30 May 2015 an attempt was made to have a get together to watch the Souths v Gold Coast game 3pm live in the Henry Morris Bar, Souths Juniors, but was very poorly attended.
This report was written on Sunday 9 August and the committee is planning a similar guard of honour and function on Thursday 27 August for the Round 24 clash against Brisbane Broncos.
Current committee: David Boyle, Michael Andrews, Gary Wright, Bill Guard, Arvind Naidu, Brad Ryder, Karen Levin and Desley Smith.
It should be noted that Sean Garlick had stood down previously due to business commitments, but still takes a keen interest in the activities of SPA.