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NSW Cup 2022 Season Review | South Sydney Rabbitohs

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were a dangerous outfit to take on in 2022. They could put the foot down when required and caused headaches for some of the competition heavyweights throughout the year.

Boasting players with plenty of experience in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, as well as new recruit Jack Campagnolo with 46 games in the QRL’s Hostplus Cup, the Rabbitohs had enough in their arsenal to give the competition a shake in 2022.

Souths finished the year on the brink of finals - just three points outside the top five - which was a significant improvement from 2021 having been in last position when the season was cancelled after 15 rounds due to COVID.

There were four NSW Cup regulars who also made their maiden NRL appearances for coach Jason Demetriou this year - Isaiah Tass, Shaquai Mitchell, Trent Peoples and Izaac Thompson.

Season highlight

When Penrith Panthers seemingly picked up from where they left off last year with three convincing wins to start 2022, many wondered which of the other 10 teams, if any, could produce a performance to beat the mountain men.

Enter the Rabbitohs.

Souths came with a clear plan to start fast and make the most of early possession, scoring two tries in the opening 20 minutes through five-eighth Campagnolo (13th) and hooker Peter Mamouzelous (19th). They conceded a Preston Riki try five minutes from half-time for a 10-6 lead.

The second half saw another quick pair of four-pointers via former Panther Josh Mansour (54th) and Jacob Gagai (57th) to move ahead 20-6. They then survived two Penrith tries in the final 10 minutes to hang on for a narrow two-point win.

Simply the best

It’s hard to go past local junior Dean Hawkins as one of best NSW Cup Rabbitohs in 2022, remaining ever so consistent in South Sydney’s No.7 jersey.

The Matraville Tiger did the halfback fundamentals to perfection to lead the competition for try assists (28), kicks (208) and kick metres (5,806). He also made the most tackles in his often-targeted position with 372.

Hawkins simply left no stone unturned in giving the Rabbitohs the best chance to win and kept them in the contest in the 21 games he played this year to deservedly earn his spot in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Team of the Year.

By the numbers

The Rabbitohs’ improvement on results in just one season can’t be ignored. They managed 11 wins to last year’s two, but it was their performances against top opposition which was the most impressive.

From four matches against top two sides, the Rabbitohs defeated the Jets 32-10 in Round Six and were unbeaten against the Panthers from two meetings – a 20-18 win in Round Four and a 24-all draw in Round 24.

If the Rabbitohs can repeat those efforts next season, then a finals tilt could be on the card which could be a daunting prospect for any opponent.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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