Hospital Challenge Cup Seaosn Preview - Souths

· Hospital Cup
by Reds Media Unit
Last year was a season of learning for the young Souths side, and they’ll be better for it in 2021.

Results may not have shown it, but this up-and-coming group of Magpies showed they have what it takes to match it with the Hospital Cup’s best, and they’ll be out to show that on a consistent basis this season. 

The Farrell brothers – Sean and Jack – will both feature heavily after returning from the St.George Queensland Reds and Brumbies respectively, while the likes of Phransis Sula-Siaosi, Billy Rutherford and Reagan Leslie now have plenty of Premier Rugby games under their belts. 

Theo Fourie is back after a full pre-season with the Melbourne Rebels, as is Romanian international Luke Samoa and last seasons’ players’ player, centre Mike Siaki. 

Hear what head coach Todd Dammers had to say about his young charges and the season ahead of them. 

2020 REVIEW 

The wins may not have come, but 2020 remained a positive and enjoyable season for the Magpies. 

“Like anything, they learnt a lot,” Dammers said.

“We maintained a pretty healthy group and learnt what it takes to play at Premier Grade level, it made them mature a little bit. 

“We got up for that Brothers game which was that first trial and they showed that when they were really into it, they could compete and they got out there and they did a great job. 

“They got dealt a few lessons by a couple of the big teams. They just weren’t confident they could compete, and when they were in the trenches, they were looking around at other 19 and 20-year-olds.

“By the back-end of the year they started to think ‘hang-on, we know we can do this’ and that’s when you started to see the performances change because they started to believe it rather than talk about it. 

2021 FOCUS

Dammers and his squad are intent on continuing on the upwards trajectory that started last season, while whole-club success is a focus at Chipsy Wood Oval. 

“As a club, we want to be a lot stronger across the whole club,” he said. 

“You’ll see a lot better showing across the entire club.

“From a Premier Grade team point of view, for us we just want to keep improving. 

“Last year was very much a learning year and anyone outside of our group doesn’t really understand that, but we knew where we were at. 

“This year is about taking that step up. There’ll be hiccups along the way, I have no doubt about it, but we’d like to think we’ll be there when the finals are on.” 

RECRUITS 

Sean Farrell – Queensland Reds
Jack Farrell – Brumbies 
Elijah Kefu – Southern Districts, Shute Shield 
Brad Kelegai – sabbatical 
Tom Lane – injury
Cullen Ngamanu – GPS 

LOSSES

Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland 
Lukas Ripley – University of Queensland

PLAYER TO WATCH – ELIJAH KEFU 

After a season in the Shute Shield, destructive centre Elijah Kefu is back at the Nest, and the club is excited about his return in the black and white. 

“You’ve got guys like Elijah Kefu who I still rate as one of the better young 13’s running around,” Dammers said.

“He’s six-foot-two, 105 kilograms, he will be a damaging footballer when he gets going.”

OPPOSITION PLAYER TO WATCH – KALANI THOMAS

 Dammers knows all too well the promise of Kalani Thomas after coaching him last season, with the young scrumhalf making the move to UQ over the off-season. 

“Kalani is a great player, it’ll be interesting to see how he goes,” Dammers said.

“I think he’s got all the talent in the world.” 
 
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