Rabbitohs v Bears NSW Cup Trial

By Greg Allan reporting for Bunnies TV from Hills Grammar, Kenthurst 

Knock On Effect NSW Cup TrialNorth Sydney Bears v South Sydney Rabbitohs 3/2/24

A surprisingly good crowd was on hand for this early pre-season NSW Cup trial between the Bears and the Rabbitohs. The conditions were of course hot, but it would be strange to expect anything else in the first week of February. Despite this, there were plenty of people here to watch – friends and family as well as fans starved of league like me had made the journey out to Sydney’s Hills District.

Rabbitohs v Bears NSW Cup Trial
Warming up in blazing heat!

The Hills

This private school in the north-west was an odd venue but the punters in attendance had transformed the well-manicured grounds to a grass roots rugby league venue for the afternoon. I’ll apologise in advance for the lack of details in player names in this report. I’m certain the team list I had wasn’t completely correct.

Greg & Juliet At The Game

My daughter Juliet and I took our seats in the impressive little grandstand as both sides warmed up (literally) in front of us in the blazing heat. It was time for kick off and Norths were ruled off side in an early bonus for the Bunnies. Souths were on the attack early, halfback Jarrett Subloo getting involved and looking dangerous at times, Buddy Gordon charging it up hard looking very fit and strong for an older bloke. Souths were a bit clunky in attack however and the Bears were able to get possession back. After a CJ Mundine error from fullback, Norths were able to get their first real attacking chance and cruised over the line quite easily out on the edge.

Rabbitohs v Bears NSW Cup Trial
No goals kept the ballboys out of the bush!

This is when I found there were no conversions today. Fair enough for a trial, also if they did kick goals they’d be spending the whole afternoon fishing balls out of the surrounding bushland.

Braidon Is Back!

It wasn’t long until Souths were back on the attack. Unfortunately this only resulted in a length of the field intercept try, returning Rabbitoh Braidon Burns chasing to no avail. I thought it was great to see Braidon back at Souths, I’ve always thought he was a handy player, just unlucky with injuries.

The grim start continued for Souths and CJ Mundine with another dropped ball from fullback. The Rabbitohs were able to repel the Bears this time but were again a bit disorganised in attack. I did notice a strong charge from Nicholas Halalilo (from Townsville Blackhawks) but Norths ended up with the ball and made a long break from our line. Mundine was able to make up for previous mistakes, making a good play to stop the Bears winger. 

Rabbitohs v Bears NSW Cup Trial
Chase Chapman replaced Liam Le Blanc at lock and Andre Wright came onto the extended bench.

The Bunnies weren’t that impressive in the first quarter and they returned in the second looking to impove. Zac Makelim who was the reserve hooker to new recruit Ryan Gray, made a good dart from dummy half and Chase Chapman was making some good hits and strong charges. Centre Harry Quinlan did some nice work in defence, taking a Bears player over the sideline one on one.

Souths Score

It was no surprise after the better start that Souths managed to score their first try. The impressive Chase Chapman going in under the posts from a Gordon pass. We were in again not long after some brutal defence forced an error as Norths were rucking it out from their line, a Souths player dived on the loose ball and scored. Following this, the Bunnies were in again after a runaway try to our winger. He had a bit of work to do to beat his man to score but managed this well. 

Jake Trindall

I thought the introduction of Jake Trindall was instrumental in the Bunnies’ improvement in the 2nd quarter. I thought he looked great and took charge, looking sharp and confident in attack just like his dad, former Rabbitoh Darrell Trindall (who was sitting behind me) used to do. He didn’t get as much game time as I would have liked but I thought he was easily our best option in the halves.

Jake Trindall was easily our best option in the halves.

As the game went on, the Rabbitohs began to take charge. Norths were never far away though and scored a few more tries of their own. I’m unsure what the final score was but I feel like Souths won by a few tries. There was obviously a lot I missed as it’s hard when you don’t know all the players but here are my overall thoughts.

Bear, CJ, Ryan & Harry

The impressively named Bear Williams was solid in limited opportunities. It may have been his long frizzy hair that made him stand out but I thought he made some strong charges and hits. CJ Mundine had a horror start but improved as the game went on having quite a few classy touches. Our hooker Ryan Gray had a good game, he was very consistent in defence and provided great service from dummy half. He also scored a nice try late in the game. I’ll mention Harry Quinlan again, he had some nice touches throughout and was probably one of our best. Short kick-offs were the order of the day, I’m not sure if this is a new trend or just because it was a trial. Anyway, Quinlan did a sound job defusing them. 

Burns, Maloney, Gordon, Chapman & Tricky

Braidon Burns didn’t get a lot of opportunities but he was good in his return match, it was no surprise he had a bit of presence out there and provided a lot of experience and calmness in the backs. Cade Maloney, the prop from the Blackhawks, has some size about him and made some good carries whilst Yileen Gordon only seems to be getting better as he gets older. As mentioned before, Chapman was one of my best, he was impressive in the middle. He had a lot of game time but was a standout in attack and defence. I’ll also mention Trindall again. I was a massive Tricky fan back in the day and Jake looks a crafty half also.

Souths Harold Matthews Cup team had a big win in Wollongong earlier in the day.

The fulltime siren went not long after Cody Kennedy from Souths ran in a late try. I’m glad I made the effort to come out to Hills Grammar. It was an entertaining match and there was plenty of promise from a bunch of guys from the Rabbitohs that I’d never seen before. It was just nice to be back at the footy! Bring on season 2024!

Rabbitohs v Bears NSW Cup Trial.

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