7 October, 2014, 12:00 am
Clive Churchil Medal winner
SYDNEY – Glory, Glory To South Sydney never sounded louder than at ANZ Stadium on an epic Sunday night as the Rabbitohs finally ended their 43-year wait for a record 21st premiership with a hugely emotional 30-6 NRL Grand Final win over Canterbury. Tears flowed on and off the field and there were shades of John Sattler’s famous broken jaw in the 1970 grand final as talismanic Englishman Sam Burgess played almost the entire game with a suspected shattered cheekbone, his courageous performance earning him the Clive Churchill Medal.
Crowe hails players
SYDNEY – South Sydney owner Russell Crowe hailed the contribution of his players and staff after the club sealed a first premiership in 43 years. Crowe, who presented suspended hooker Issac Luke who missed the game with a ring he purchased for him after the final siren, said it was a night he would never forget. The Hollywood superstar who bought the club in 2006, helped restore the club to being one the game’s superpowers 12 years after they were readmitted back into the competition.
Surgery for Burgess
SYDNEY – South Sydney hero Sam Burgess will undergo surgery on Monday morning to repair his shattered right cheekbone after helping his side win the NRL Grand Final. Burgess was named the Clive Churchill Medallist after producing one of the most courageous performances ever seen to beat Canterbury 30-6 at ANZ Stadium. The 25-year-old, who will head back to England to play rugby for Bath next week, clashed heads with fellow countryman James Graham in the opening hit-up of the match.
SYDNEY – Josh Reynolds has bade an emotional farewell to best mate Michael Ennis after the NRL Grand Final loss, revealing how he’ll now forever share a family link with the departing Canterbury captain. A few days before the premiership decider, Ennis asked Reynolds, who is in many ways his protege, to be the godfather to his new baby daughter, Evelyn. Reynolds fought hard to hold back tears post-match when describing how badly he wanted to win a crown for Ennis, who was forced to watch from the sidelines with fractures in his foot and is off to the Cronulla Sharks for 2015.
SYDNEY – Canterbury prop Tim Browne has denied deliberately trying to charge injured South Sydney hard man Sam Burgess with his head in Sunday night’s NRL Grand Final. When the teams packed down for a second-half scrum, Browne appeared to attempt to make contact with Burgess and his fractured cheekbone when he drove hard into the Souths’ front row. Burgess – who is expected to undergo surgery on Monday – sensed what was coming and pulled upright at engagement time so Browne couldn’t connect, however, the Englishman complained to the referees and remonstrated with the head-geared Bulldogs enforcer.
Tough years worth it
SYDNEY – John Sutton says all those hammerings, all those years when Souths struggled to win a handful of games, are now worth it. Leading the Rabbitohs to their 21st premiership win, their first since 1971, makes all the tough years worthwhile. No player has notched up more first grade games for the storied club than Sutton, who made his NRL debut with the club in 2004, two years after readmission when they were competition easybeats and collected three wooden spoons in four years. Sutton says he has never forgotten those days, and the sour of those memories has made the triumph of a premiership all the sweeter.