South Sydney Rabbitohs 2024 season preview

South Sydney Rabbitohs 2024 season preview

2023 recap

To call Souths’ 2023 campaign a season of two halves would be a massive understatement. The Rabbitohs were top of the ladder after 11 rounds, and had beaten the Panthers, Broncos and Storm in successive weeks to make them a lot of people’s Premiership favourites. From round 12 onwards though, the year turned into a disaster. Just four wins from their final 13 games meant they missed out on finals for the first time since 2017, and in the process they became the first side ever to achieve that feat after leading the competition going into round 12.

2023 position: 9th

Key signings

Sean Keppie (Manly Sea Eagles), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders)

Key departures

Jed Cartwright (Newcastle Knights), Josiah Karapani (Brisbane Broncos), Hame Sele (St George Illawarra Dragons), Blake Taaffe (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Players to watch

The arrival of Jack Wighton from Canberra is a big coup for the Bunnies. The 31-year-old is expected to slot into the centres at Souths, but he’s equally at home in the halves, and even at fullback if needed, so his versatility could be a huge boost for the Rabbitohs when injuries and Origin call-ups kick in – especially as he won’t be getting called up for the latter after retiring from rep footy in 2023.

Just like his club, Latrell Mitchell’s 2023 was a real mixed bag, but an improved 2024 for him will go a long way towards Souths getting back into the finals. In the first 11 rounds of the season he was in scintillating form, but an injury picked up after round 12 saw him missing until round 22, when his return helped spark a run of two wins in three games. A ridiculous elbow to the back of Tyson Frizell’s head in round 25 saw him suspended for the final game of the year though, as the Bunnies lost to their arch-rivals, Sydney Roosters – a defeat which cost them any chance of a top eight finish. He’ll be loooking to come back with a bang this time around.

Young gun

Tyrone Munro scored two tries on his first grade debut last year, and the teenage winger went on to finish the campaign with three tries in three games. He still has a way to go to get into the starting XIII on a regular basis, but he’ll expect to see some more first grade action in 2024 and with no one nailed on for a spot on Souths’ right flank, he could force his way into the side and stay there with some strong displays.

Our prediction – 7th

I’m expecting the Rabbitohs to bounce back into the top eight this year, but I’m a lot less confident about their chances of a Premiership than I was in 2023. There are too many question marks over them in my opinion, and the fact that Campbell Graham will miss most of the season through injury won’t help their chances. I don’t like to pick out individuals either, but I just can’t see them winning a Premiership with Lachlan Ilias as their starting halfback, although maybe he’ll prove me wrong one day.

Darren Notley

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