Rabbitohs ready to renew rivalry
Cameron McInnes grew up in the heart of South Sydney territory and is excited for a chance to start against the Roosters in Round 1 as the long standing rivalry between two of rugby league's glamour clubs reaches its 108th year.
The Botany Rams junior has played his entire career at the Rabbitohs, including two years as captain of their Holden Cup team and says starting against the Roosters would be a dream come true.
"Roosters and Souths is always a big game. I've grown up in the area, and I'd always go to that game. You always look forward to it because [it means] footy is back," McInnes said.
"There's a lot of excitement around it. When I was younger I always wanted to play in that game, so to get the opportunity to do that would be amazing."
Sunday's fixture will be the second time McInnes has faced the Roosters, and he'll be hoping for a better outcome than South Sydney's 30-0 loss to the Tricolours in Round 26 last season.
The 22-year-old is yet to play a full 80-minute game for the Rabbitohs, and that trend looks set to continue with Damien Cook joining the club from the Bulldogs.
The pair complemented each other well at the Auckland Nines, and shared the hooking duties in the Charity Shield win over the Dragons.
McInnes has embraced the arrival of his new teammate, and says their time together will bring out the best in both men.
"You need competition to become a better player," the 2013 Holden Cup Team of the Year member said.
"We enjoy playing together. We've been working very closely over the pre-season and pushing each other. So I'm looking forward to it if we both get named."
While McInnes grew up with it, Sunday's encounter will be Damien Cook's first taste of the oldest rivalry in the NRL.
The former Bulldog is chomping at the bit to make his club debut in a game steeped in over 100 years' worth of history, and has enjoyed watching the debate between fans on social media.
"They push it. They probably promote it a bit more than what we do at training. We're just more worried about the job we've got and we're excited about Round 1," the new Rabbitoh said.
"I'm looking forward to the rivalry. I've heard a lot about it through the pre-season. I haven't had a chance to experience it myself. So hopefully I get named in the 17 and I'll get to see that rivalry this weekend."