NRL Round 11 – Rabbit in the Vineyard: Hopeful signs



NQ Cowboys v South Sydney
Brisbane, 18/5/24

Souths slumped to their ninth loss of the 2024 season in Magic Round.

Rewind twelve months, we were flying after wins over Penrith, the Broncos and Melbourne.

Souths were aiming to maintain their undefeated status in Magic Round from the previous four editions – most recently a 28-12 win over the Storm in 2023 – Souths fans hoped for an improved performance, possibly even a win.

Jack Wighton ran out for his 250th NRL game.

Leaking five tries meant Souths remained firmly entrenched at the bottom of the NRL ladder.

In a bizarre set of circumstances, journeyman Braidon Burns, who had returned to Souths this season from the Bulldogs to play NSW Cup and work in the Souths Cares community programs, scored a double AGAINST his former club, on debut for the Cowboys!

Re read that sentence, if necessary!

There were times in this match where the Class of 2024 gave members and fans glimmers of hope.

Latrell’s pass for AJ’s 189th NRL try, Latrell’s bulldozing effort to score, and Cook scoring Souths’ fourth try were moments that gave us at least some hope.

Unfortunately, defence let Souths down again.

Cooper Cronk, who played 372 more NRL games than most of us, provided concise analysis after the game, questioning the players’ fitness levels, as well as the effort of some players.

Difficult to argue against that assessment.


NRL 2024 | Rabbitohs v Cowboys | Match Highlights (

Press conference:

Bunnies remain positive after tough loss | Rabbitohs Press Conference | Fox League (

The George Piggins-Mario Fenech-Clive Churchill most inspirational play: Latrell’s barnstorming first half try.

The Phil Blake chip n chase best attacking moment: Latrell’s pass for Johnston’s 189th career try. Alex is now one try behind Billy Slater.

Rampling brothers-Charlie Frith-Ian Roberts-Les Davidson tackle (defender) of the match: for a second NRL gamer, Deon Teaupa plays above his weight and has the ability to drive players back in defence.

Blake Taaffe watch: the Dogs played Canberra in the first game of magic round. Taaffe was listed as a reserve, in jersey number 20. For the Dogs’ indigenous Round clash this week, Blake is listed as an ‘out’.

 Hang in there, young man!

Full time: North Queensland Cowboys 28 d South Sydney DRLFC 22.

Souths points: tries Latrell 21’, Johnston 32’, Walker 66’, Cook 76’, goals Latrell 3.

Souths line up: Latrell, Johnston, Wighton (250th NRL game), Tu’itupou Thompson, Gagai, Cody, Teaupa, Moale, Cook, Keppie, Koloamatangi, Arrow, Havili, bench: Mamouzelos, Duncan, Burgess, Milne.

Indigenous Round v Parramatta, fresh from sacking coach Brad Arthur, awaits …

RITV player of the year points: 3 Tallis Duncan, 2 Tom Burgess, 1 Jack Wighton.


Murray 11, Wighton 10, Burgess 8, Duncan 6, Gray, Moale, Koloamatangi, Hawkins, Cook 3, Arrow, Havili, Gagai 2. S Mitchell, Milne 1.


Tscharke ‘The Master’ 2022 Montepulciano.

Portfolio of Organic Wines – Tscharke Wines

Another fantastic drop, from the first Montepulciano grapes planted in the Barossa.


Russel Hansen, South Sydney football club diamond member 6199, lives in Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, South Australia. His golden retriever, Murray, is named after the South Sydney captain. Twitter/X: @Rabbit in the Vineyard @Russel_Hansen

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About Russel Hansen

Russel Hansen Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country. He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad (100m personal best 10.34secs) to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships. He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters. Twitter: @Russel_Hansen


  1. Ian Hauser says

    Rabbit, Souths are really costing me in the tipping competition! I’ve gone for them again this weekend – a case of third time lucky or doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

    What are the possibilities of a Bennett/Burgess regime from 2025? A marriage made in football heaven?

  2. Russel Hansen says

    Wayne loves Sam

    2025? could be too early for Sam’s return from Warrington?

  3. Matt O'Hanlon says

    Hornby v Barret 472 combined total games in the halves for the dragons / Illawarra from 1996- 2012 now coaching against each other and one willl be the winner- who would have thought that this would be the case earlier this year! The 2021 and 22 losing grand finalists in complete disarray!

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