Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sports Sunday - The top spot

Image credit
Adam Reynolds
It has been a while since the South Sydney Rabbitohs lead the pack. It feels like a long while actually.

Currently they are five points clear of the second placed Melbourne Storm (thanks to an upset yesterday when they were beaten by the West Tigers).

As a Souths Sydney Rabbitohs fan I have seen it all, especially recently. Except a premiership win.

The Super League debacle and the eventual formation of the NRL was not kind to the Rabbitohs. They failed to meet the NRL selection criteria and were excluded at the end of 1999.

But still I followed them. And didn't watch football for two years.

When the Rabbitohs were readmitted into the NRL in 2002, the Rabbitohs finished amongst the bottom three teams for five seasons straight including three wooden spoons. They were not off to a good start.

But still I followed them.

In 2007, they seemed to have a turnaround winning their first three games of the season. Their best season start since 1972. They had a strong season and finished in the top eight for the first time since 1989. Sadly, they lost to the Manly Sea eagles in the play-offs, finishing the season in 7th position.

Last year, in 2012, the South Sydney Rabbitohs became the second club to record 1000 First Grade wins. They also finished third at the end of the season, making it to the preliminary finals. That ever elusive premiership win still out of reach though.

Now we are in 2013 and they are atop the ladder alone, standing proudly.

And still I follow them!

The Rabbitohs have a strong fan base. A lot are way more fanatical than I am.

Several fans have formed their own supporter group called The Burrow. They offer a Burrow Membership, consisting of such goodies as a Membership Kit, Burrow Member-only scarf, and various home and away ticket discounts.

The Burrow are the ones you see at Rabbitohs games, rain, hail or shine standing and singing in their red and green. They are awesome.

I wonder how many members of The Burrow were alive when the great Rabbitohs won their last premiership? When they were the pride of the league?

None of the current Rabbitohs players would have been alive. They are young men, some not even twenty. They carry the hopes and dreams of so many on their shoulders. It is a lot of pressure for such young men.

I had lunch with old friends today. Friends who have known me longer than the majority of young Rabbitohs players have been alive.

One said to me, "I can't imagine what you will be like if they make it to the grand final."

I replied, "I will cry whether they win or lose."

For now though, this Rabbitohs fan is just happy they are in the top spot!

How is your team going this season?

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