Telling stat stopping the Rabbitohs making a charge for NRL title

·Contributor
·4-min read
Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs celebrates scoring a try during the round 19 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Latrell Mitchell celebrates scoring a try in the Rabbitohs' 60-22 drubbing of the Warriors on Saturday. (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images)

To concede 50 points in a game is – statistically speaking – fatal to a side's premiership hopes.

No side has done it and come back to win the comp in the same year.

Ok, so can we put a twist on things and ask if any team has given up a half-century TWICE in a season and still gone on to claim the major prize?

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We're just looking for a loophole to declare the Rabbitohs remain up to their necks in this year's competition.

The Bunnies were touched up by Melbourne (50-0) and Penrith (56-12) inside a fortnight during a concerning mid-season slump, but have since won seven straight.

In doing so, they have scored 284 points at an average of just over 40 points a game.

They sit third on the table and their spine of Mitchell-Walker-Reynolds-Cook is arguably the best in the game.

Just ask Matty Johns.

"When they get going, I think South Sydney are the best team to watch in the competition," he said.

"That combination of Latrell, Walker, Cook and Reynolds just terrorise the opposition."

Souths' draw in the run home feature teams in the top eight in five of their six games, but two of those are against the inconsistent Dragons.

The Bunnies are a big chance of finishing in the top four. No side will fancy meeting them in September.

So why aren't they being discussed as a serious contender for the premiership?

It all comes down to their defence.

Melbourne (214 points against), Penrith (185) and Parramatta (267) have all conceded, on average, fewer than 15 points a game.

The Rabbitohs have given up 368 points in 18 games at an average of just over 20 a game.

Watch out Melbourne and Penrith if the Bunnies get their "D" in order.

Joey Manu is something special

You're not supposed to have footy crushes at my age but I am about to make an exception for a bloke who would be considered an absolute superstar if he was from NSW or Queensland.

The Roosters' Joey Manu never figures near the top of those best player polls but is every bit as influential to his team as James Tedesco, Nathan Cleary, Cameron Munster, Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic.

Not better – but just as good.

And all done on around half the money some of the blokes mentioned above command.

Joseph Manu of the Roosters is tackled by Scott Drinkwater of the Cowboys during the round 18 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters at QCB Stadium in Townsville.
Joey Manu fends off Scott Drinkwater during the Roosters' clash with the Cowboys. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Manu's got it all – size, speed, power, ball-playing smarts, defence.

He can play fullback, centre, wing and five-eighth.

If eligible, the Kiwi would walk into either the NSW or Queensland Origin side.

He was ranked a distant 27th on a list of the game's top players at the start of the year, while he wasn't on the radar in a recent players' poll asking who's the best player in the game.

But Roosters coach Trent Robinson knows his value, privately rating him as vital to the Chooks' premiership hopes as his other headline grabbers.

Sharks hope history repeats with Finucane signing

According to some critics, Cronulla has taken a huge risk in signing Dale Finucane to a four-year deal.

Really? Have they forgotten about Luke Lewis?

Like Finucane, Lewis was 29 going on 30 when he switched clubs, jumping from the Panthers to the Sharks in 2013.

Over the next four years he won a premiership, the Clive Churchill Medal and played for NSW and Australia.

Luke Lewis of the Sharks is tackled during the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Luke Lewis during his Clive Churchill Medal winning performance for the Sharks in the 2016 NRL Grand Final with the Storm. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

He ended up signing contract extensions taking him through to the end of the 2018 season, totalling 116 games for Cronulla across six years when all was said and done.

Along with Mick Ennis, Lewis is credited for bringing the professionalism and winning edge Cronulla required to end its 50-year premiership search in 2016.

Finucane is cut from a similar cloth and is just the sort of player the Sharks need to go from regular finalists to genuine threats.

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