Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou has been granted a contract extension through to 2026 in a deal announced only days after the end of the NRL season. The Rabbitohs haven't missed an NRL finals since 2016, but an all-time capitulation saw them finish 9th in 2023.
However, after changes to a number of departments at the Rabbitohs, Demetriou was also announced to have signed on for another two years. His contract extension was all but complete in late June, but Rabbitohs officials held off the announcement.
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Demetriou's announcement comes after a terrible season for the club. The Rabbitohs made unwanted history after a remarkable capitulation after sitting top of the table after round 11. However, their loss to the Roosters in the final round meant they missed out in finishing in the top eight.
Not since 1992 - and prior to the league adopting a top-eight finals system - has a team gone from top of the ladder in round 11 or later to miss out on the finals. The Rabbitohs' season went downhill after injuries to key players - including Latrell Mitchell and centre Campbell Graham - coupled with a drastic dip in their defensive numbers.
Sam Burgess' very public early exit from the coaching staff also added to the intense spotlight on the club, with Demetriou forced to answer questions over his handling of stars Mitchell and Cody Walker.
Demetriou said he was thrilled to have signed the extension and was looking forward to the challenges next season. "It is an absolute honour to coach this club and I feel very privileged to be extending my time at South Sydney," Demetriou said in a statement. "I'm really looking forward to the challenges ahead of us in 2024."
Rabbitohs restructure after turbulent season
A restructure in coaching staff following the exits of assistants Burgess and John Morris will also see Demetriou head up the Rabbitohs' defence. Ben Hornby will stay on as Demetriou's attack coach after signing a new deal until the end of 2025, while Joe O'Callaghan will be an assistant for NRL while still coaching NSW Cup.
Rabbitohs legend John Sutton will step up to a full-time head of development role, while head physio Eddie Farah has left the club after 17 seasons for personal reasons. Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly said finishing ninth was not good enough in 2023 and steps had been taken to improve moving forward.
"We have identified the areas in which we can improve to return the club to its goal of being a top four team every year," CEO Blake Solly said. "We have already taken some steps towards rectifying the key areas that have been identified as capable of improvement."
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