New Rabbitohs look to emulate success
Missing out on being part of last year's victorious effort is driving the majority of the Rabbitohs to taste success again at the 2016 Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
Of the 18 players who guided South Sydney to the 2015 Nines title with an 18-14 victory over the Sharks in extra time, only four – Bryson Goodwin, Cameron McInnes, Kyle Turner and Jason Clark – remain in the squad to defend the title.
And for those who watched on from the outside the chance to experience lifting the trophy at Eden Park has them champing at the bit.
"Last year I was sitting at home watching the boys lapping it up after winning, so this year I want to be part of that," winger Alex Johnston told NRL.com.
"And that's what we are here for again. It's not just a pre-season tournament, they came here to win last year and doing it created a real buzz around camp when they returned.
"For me I played at the very first one in 2014, but that was sort of my first taste of first-grade footy so I was a bit nervous.
"But this time around I think I will give it a go and try some different things."
For veteran John Sutton it's also an opportunity to build some early momentum before the Telstra Premiership kicks off next month.
"Last year it definitely had a positive impact on morale, they had a great time in Auckland and they came back and gave the club a real lift," Sutton said.
"We will do our best and hopefully come back with that tournament victory again.
"Only a few played in the team last year so it's a totally new side. But we are just looking forward to having a good crack at it."
The Rabbitohs play the very first game of the 2016 tournament, taking on arch-rivals the Roosters.