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DigitalPress founder Theo Pettaras with Redfern local legend Noal 'Wessie' West.

Fifteen years ago they marched in the streets to keep their team in the competition.

Now they're painting half of Sydney red and green in anticipation of winning it.

You want to know what this whole Pride of the League brouhaha looks like?

Then take a march down Redfern way. 

Where the eyes of Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess, or at least those in hundreds of cut-out headshots of the two stars, follow your every move from shopfronts and apartment windows.

Where even the booze comes in cardinal and myrtle, with the local Tudor Hall Hotel flogging something called a 'Bunnies shot' as they prepare for their biggest day of trading in 43 years.

Or duck across east to Malabar, where Kath Allan returned from a cruise on Sunday to find her family home of 15 years had been given a Rabbitohs-themed make over. 

It took husband Rick less than 12 hours after the side's defeat of neighbourhood rivals the Chooks last Friday night to slap the red and green Dulux on the weatherboards and stick it right up their vanquished foes.

Then swing up to Devonshire St in Surry Hills, not too far from Bob McCarthy's old digs, from where he almost missed the kick-off of the 1965 grand final because traffic was backed up that day practically to his doorstep, a full three kilometres from the SCG. 

Here you'll find the walls and windows of local business DigitalPress covered wall to wall in red and green posters advising "Keep calm and go the Bunnies." 

Owner Theo Pettaras has already given out over 500 of the posters to locals fans free of charge and mailed out another 100 or so to those who can't make it down to Rabbitohs heartland. 

He only stopped inviting folk into the shop when he got the strong suspicion some undesirables were casing the joint as well as picking up some free merchandise. 

Exactly how much more South Sydney do you want to get?

Now work your way back down to Redfern Oval, where a teenaged Adam Reynolds used to hop the fence to watch his red and green clad heroes go through their paces. 

Where a couple of aboriginal kids are conspiring how to do exactly the same as Reynolds shares a pre-grand final stretch and giggle with fellow local product Dylan Walker. 

Kingsford resident Johnny Young has just been grabbing some last-minute supplies across the road at the Rabbits' Chalmers Street retail outlet – where over $100,000 worth of kit was sold on Saturday alone.

"Just some more stuff for the collection mate," he says, opening a bag containing a couple of grand final t-shirts, a scarf and a flag or two.

"Not much that I haven't got already to be honest, already got most of the wardrobe. A couple of the old retro jerseys. The jumpers from 2009 onwards. Last year's jerseys, this year's jerseys. Home and away.  Last year's Super Man, this year's Super Man. Hats. Hoodies. Tracksuit. 

"The whole shebang." 

Ah yes, the whole shebang that is South Sydney. 

It's Churchill and it's Inglis. It's Sattler and it's Burgess. 

It's Russell Crowe slipping a bit of talcum powder between the pages of his Book of Feuds, and then blowing off the 'dust' as he delves into history to inspire the players before a big match.

It's why both Young and Pettaras, as well as thousands of others, lost interest when they were punted from the comp for three dark years at the turn of the millennium.

"Rabbitohs supporters, you don't get them saying 'I like the Bunnies'," Pettaras says.

"It's all or nothing. They're fanatical about it. That's why it hurt so much when we were kicked out. And that's why it's so special, and why there's so much passion around the place." 

The saying goes that when South Sydney are doing well, rugby league's doing well. 

Well, when the Bunnies are firing, the south of Sydney is completely hopping mad. From Marrickville to Maroubra, Waterloo to Long Bay and back again.

"The area's a lot happier, a hell of a lot happier," says Young, who has plied his trade as a social worker on both sides of Anzac Parade over the last 15 years.

"It's the people's team, it's as simple as that. We've had the glory days, and the hard days. The hard days were nowhere near as long... but jeez it seemed like it."

Which is why Pettaras plans to 'poster bomb' the streets of Redfern and Surry Hills with his red and green placards, urging readers to 'keep calm'.

Fully aware of the irony that, should John Sutton be lifting the Provan-Summons around 9.30 on Sunday night, all the myxomatosis in the world couldn't keep the hordes of rabid Rabbits fans under wraps. 

It's also why Johnny Young is thanking the cardinal and myrtle gods that Monday is a public holiday.

"We're going to need it mate. It's going to be one big party. I reckon we should get two weeks to celebrate actually.

"We've waited 43 years, that's not too much to ask is it?"


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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