Honesty proves best policy for revitalised Rabbitohs

Jasper Bruce |

South Sydney captain Cameron Murray’s honesty session helped turn around the club’s form.
South Sydney captain Cameron Murray’s honesty session helped turn around the club’s form.

In the midst of a six-game losing streak, South Sydney captain Cameron Murray pulled his forward pack aside for an honesty session the team credits as a turning point in their season.

Now the resurgent Rabbitohs insist they can make a late charge to qualify for the NRL finals – all they’ll have to do is pull off the inverse of their fizzling 2023 campaign.

By winning their past four games, Souths have hoisted themselves from last on the ladder to within four points of the top eight, shaking off a dismal start to 2024 that cost Jason Demetriou his job as coach.

The Rabbitohs’ forward pack had been a particular weak spot as a capitulation from finals contention in 2023 bled into the new year.

But sidelined with a hip injury during the Rabbitohs’ stint at the bottom of the ladder, Murray convened his pack and clicked them back into gear.

“Cam brought us in together when we were going through that struggle and he said that we are the only ones that can get us out of it,” Keaon Koloamatangi said.

“Everyone looked at each other in the mirror and stopped blaming people on the outside, because you’re the one on the field tackling and everything, so you can’t blame anyone for anything.

“I reckon (that chat was a turning point) because we’re four from four.”

For veteran prop Tom Burgess, it was only the latest example of Murray’s leadership capabilities.

“He’s always a great leader, he’s got great passion for the club,” he said.

“He was probably in a tough spot as well himself personally, being injured and not being able to be there on the field. 

“He was great with the boys, great honesty. It’s what we needed. We’ve been gradually improving and then playing with less pressure, and that sort of thing always helps.”

Souths’ finals hopes are still alive ahead of Thursday’s clash with Parramatta, though they have not yet pulled out a calculator to determine how many games they will need to win.

“No one’s that good at maths here, really. I think I might be the best,” Burgess said.

To finish with a 50 per cent winning record and have any chance of playing in the post-season, Souths will need to claim victory in seven from their remaining 10 games.

But it’s not so crazy a proposition, given they are the only team to play last-placed Wests Tigers twice on the run home, among a total of five games against sides currently out of the top eight.

They also meet Cronulla and the Dolphins, both contending with form slumps at the time of writing.

“We were leading the comp last year after 12 rounds (sic, 11) and managed to not make the finals, so it should go both ways, shouldn’t it?” Burgess asked.

Preliminary finalists in five consecutive seasons before 2023, Souths are confident of wreaking havoc should they scrape into the top eight.

“If we do get to the finals and it’s just one game, we back ourselves to beat any team,”  Koloamatangi said.