It was a Saturday afternoon at ANZ Stadium; South Sydney Rabbitohs fans were sitting in the stands ready to unveil a giant John Sutton banner to celebrate a genuine club legend.
The Burrow – the famous South Sydney supporter group – was filling up quicker than usual with Rabbitohs fans that wanted to be part of the celebrations, something that has not happened in the club’s history.
About 20 minutes before the game, news filtered in that the Rabbitohs’ team in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership had gone down 14-12 to Mounties in the semi-final.
“Oh no, the Women’s side went down to Mounties.”
“What? No way, what was the score?”
“So what does that mean for them?”
“They get another chance next week right?”
The Women’s result – minutes before unveiling a banner in one of the proudest moments in South Sydney history – was suddenly the talk of the town.
The fact that supporters of NRL clubs - in this case, the Rabbitohs – are getting behind their female side truly highlights how far the women’s game has come in the past few years.
“This whole year the Burrow has come to most of our games, they have been amazing,” NSW Women’s State of Origin captain and Rabbitohs player Maddie Studdon says.
“They have been right behind us on social media and at the games they have been waiting around to see us afterwards.
“We’re very grateful to have such a wonderful club and ‘the Burrow’ behind us, and to hear those things is quite magical.
“I’m very proud to be a South Sydney player.”
After going down to Mounties in that game, South Sydney had another chance at making the Grand Final for coming so high on the ladder throughout the season.
They defeated Cabramatta last week, and will now take on Mounties in the Grand Final this Friday night before the South Sydney NRL team take on the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium.
In a remarkable set of circumstances, this is not only Studdon’s third Grand Final in a row, but her third with a different club.
“It’s a proud moment for myself, starting off at Cronulla-Caringbah and winning that Grand Final was massive,” Studdon says.
“Then I came across to Redfern they welcomed me with open arms and that one was a very memorable year and I really loved that one.
“Now I’m with the red and green jersey this year, we’re the same team, but under a different logo and it’s a very proud moment for myself and the community.
“Hopefully we’ll get a win on Friday night, but it’s going to be a very difficult game.”
If the last game was anything to go by, the Grand Final will be a tight tussle.
Simaima Taufa – Studdon’s State of Origin teammate – is one of the best female players in the world, and will line up for Mounties at ANZ Stadium.
“It was a tough game, it was a draw until the last minute where they got the penalty goal from in front, but it was an unreal effort from Mounties,” Studdon said.
“They were on top of us for the whole game so I’ll have to give them that and we didn’t play our best and we didn’t deserve the win.
“We had another chance against Cabramatta, which was lucky enough, so now we’re preparing for Mounties and it’s going to be a tough game but I think we can explore a bit.
Be sure to get to ANZ Stadium this Friday for the 5.30pm Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership Grand Final.
The game will be live streamed on NSWRL.com.au for those who can't make it to the ground.