NRL Round 6 – Rabbit in the Vineyard: Jye Gray debuts




South Sydney v Cronulla-Sutherland
Saturday 13 April
Sydney Olympic Stadium


Jye Gray debuts – a shining light in the Bunnies’ gloom

In a previous chapter of my life, I was privileged to work at Brisbane Boys’ College for fifteen years, part of the nine-school GPS association in South-East Queensland. The Southport School, the GPS school on the Gold Coast, is the alma mater of Jye Gray, who was a schoolboy rugby union star and 100m sprinter.

Jye has recently re-signed with Souths until the end of 2026.

Refreshing news indeed, as the team sits at the bottom of the ladder with a for and against of minus 102.

There were many post-game comments about the improved ‘fight’ from the team. The bottom line: Souths still conceded 32 points and lost the game. Yes, there were injuries and HIA to several players. Yes, the team fought back after trailing 6-22.

However, the Sharks were too good: they made ground up the middle and their attack on the edges proved challenging for Souths leaky defence. Cronulla’s kicking game proved challenging for Souths wingers to handle.

Hopefully, new defence coach Dave Furner will address this issue, along with several other glaring deficiencies before the Anzac Day clash in Melbourne.

Fact: Heading into the bye this weekend, Souths still sit stone motherless last on the premiership ladder.


The Mario Fenech-Clive Churchill-George Piggins most inspirational play: 

Dead heat: Gray’s debut: particularly his willingness to attack the high ball – hope Milne and others were observing.

Tom Burgess: a barnstorming run in the lead up to Milne’s try. Burgess is one Souths player whose effort cannot be questioned.


The Phil Blake chip’n’chase best attacking moment:

Note: Phil Blake, South Sydney player 755, presented Jye Gray with his NRL debut jersey.

The lead up to Burgess’ try: Hawkins to Havili, with a nice off-load the rampaging Englishman in his last season at Redfern-Maroubra.


The Rampling Brothers-Les Davidson-Charlie Frith tackle of the match:

Not one tackle, however, with many players injured/HIA, including the captain, the bench players stepped up. Shaq Mitchell and Davvy Moale played longer minutes and were both hard working and effective in defence.


Full time: Cronulla 34 d South Sydney 22. Half time: Cronulla 16-6.

Souths points: Tries: Chee Kam 16’, Milne, 55’, Burgess 68’, Tass 74’. Goals: Hawkins 3 from 4.


Crowd: 12,207.



NRL 2024 | Rabbitohs v Sharks | Match Highlights (


Press conference (Head coach Demetriou):

‘I expect to be coach next week unless I’m told otherwise’: JD addresses rumours | Fox League (

Souths: Gray (debut – SSFC player 1196), Munro, Wighton, Tass, Milne, Walker, Hawkins, Tetola, Mamouzelos, Burgess, Koloamatangi, Host. Murray (captain). Bench: Chee Kam, Havili, S Mitchell, Moale.


Blake Taffe watch: Canterbury-Bankstown gave the Storm an almighty scare in Melbourne, going down by two points. Taaffe was unavailable for selection due to HIA protocols. Taaffe’s Bulldogs went down 14-16. We can only hope Souths show similar fight in Melbourne on Anzac Day.

Souths now move on to the Round seven bye, then travel to Melbourne to play the Storm on Anzac Day. No better time to double the number of 2024 wins and break the ‘duck’ in Melbourne.

As it stands, Souths have played 18 times in Melbourne for zero wins. The overall ledger is: played 39, Storm wins 32, Souths wins 7.

To illustrate Souths fall from the top to the bottom: Souths played the Storm in Brisbane during 2023 Magic Round and won 28-12! Ah, May 2023 seems like a lifetime ago!

Head to Head – Melbourne Storm vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs – RLP (


R.I.T.V. player of the year points: Burgess 3, Hawkins 2, Gray 1.


R.I.T.V. player of the year progressive points:

Murray 9, Wighton 6, Burgess 5, Koloamatangi, Hawkins & Cook 3, Havili 2, Gray, Moale, Gagai, S Mitchell, Milne 1.

2023 inaugural winner: Cameron Murray

2023: Pie of the year winner: ‘The Angaston’ (C&M Bakery)


Barossa Valley red wine of the week:

Willows G7 Mataro.

The Willows Vineyard cellar door was one of our first winery visits after we moved here in 2023. This beautiful area certainly did not disappoint! Very happy to make the journey out to historic Light Pass again for the purposes of this week’s blog!

2023 G7 Mataro – The Willows Vineyard


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

    Relax while you can, RITV, and enjoy that mataro.

    I saw Jye Gray play in the NSW Cup Round 1 against Manly. He may not be the biggest bloke around but more than makes up for it with his skills, competitiveness and, most importantly, his footy brain. He’s got vision and good game sense.

  2. Russel Hansen says

    we can only hope sanity prevails when the superstar returns from yet another suspension – he is moved into the centres, and Gray stays at fullback.

    hope …

    Yes – The Willows Vineyard – Cellar Door. Another ripper!

  3. Graeme Orr says

    The Blessed Bye.
    (It also means I can hope GC trounce Manly, without fearing we hit the ‘rooted’ to the bottom of table position.

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