The disappointment on the faces of the South Sydney RabbitohsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ players was clear for all to see at the end of their narrow 16-20 defeat to Penrith in the NRL prelim finals back in October.
They felt this was their time, and despite taking on a Panthers side that had dominated the regular season it was evident that Wayne BennettÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s men felt that a Grand Final appearance was in the offing.
In the end they fell just short, and while it wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have felt like it at the time there were still plenty of positives to take from the campaign. Only the Panthers, Storm and Roosters had a better points difference in the regular season, and in the playoffs the Eels and the Knights were downed with consummate ease.
Indeed, many expect South Sydney to kick on next year, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why the Rabbitohs find themselves as the second favourites at 11/2 in the NRL betting odds for the grand final 2021 behind the Panthers.
The reasons for that are two-fold, namely the quality of their play last season and also the possibility of three high-class operators that are set to join the franchise in time for the new term.
New signing Taane Milne has been ripping and tearing through the pre-season… Now hear from the man himself. 🤙🏾🐇❤️💚🏉
— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) December 3, 2020
Taane Milne will finally be looking to fulfil his potential with the Bunnies, while Jai Arrow, the Gold Coast Titans lock, has agreed a four-year deal to move to South Sydney. The 25-year-old featured in the Australian PMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s XIII last term on the back of some impressive performances, and he is also a World Cup 9s international for Australia.
And then thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Josh Addo-Carr, who many expect the Rabbitohs to sign from under the noses of CanterburyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
It was a huge surprise when Addo-Carr announced his intention to leave the Melbourne Storm.
The 25-year-old, who ran in 15 tries in a championship-winning campaign, has confirmed that he wants to return to Sydney on family grounds Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he has a newborn baby there, and the State of Origin flyer is not likely to be short of offers.
It has been widely reported that the Bulldogs have laid down a lucrative offer for the winger, and after being given a tour of the Canterbury franchiseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s facilities it seemed as though a deal was imminent.
But the Tigers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ his former club Ã¢â‚¬â€œ are also monitoring the situation, and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rule out the Rabbitohs just yet.
The Storm have confirmed that they will release Addo-Carr from the last year of his contract if they can source a suitable player in a trade agreement, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not inconceivable that the Bunnies will entice their rivals into a deal by dangling the carrot of Braidon Burns or even Dane Gagai in their direction.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history between Addo-Carr and the Rabbitohs Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he was part of their SG ball team way back in 2012 before an off-field incident saw him released by the club, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since and he would be considered the final piece of the jigsaw that would take BennettÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side very close to championship glory.
The 25-year-old is arguably the fastest man in NRL, and South Sydney will be hoping they can catch him ahead of the Bulldogs and the Tigers.