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Alex Johnston is mobbed after his fifth try against the Roosters in round 20, 2020.

A preliminary final appearance would be regarded as a terrific year by most, but that's cold comfort for the Rabbitohs who again fell short of reaching the decider.

For the third straight year, South Sydney were bundled out in the preliminary finals, this time by Penrith.

Along the way, they proved themselves arguably the most exciting attacking team when in full flight.

Even the loss of fullback Latrell Mitchell to a hamstring injury in round 16 didn't slow their roll as Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds, Damien Cook and Corey Allan starred.

The Wayne Bennett-coached outfit was arguably the form side of the Telstra Premiership leading into the finals despite finishing sixth.

Bennett is departing the club after 2021 and will hope to find that little bit extra to take South Sydney to another premiership.

Rabbitohs' top five tries of 2020

Home and Away record

The Rabbitohs dropped just three games all regular season at home, making both ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium tough for opponents. Their two biggest wins - 56-16 vs Manly in round 15 and 60-8 vs the Roosters in round 20 - came as hosts at ANZ Stadium.

They were solid on the road, managing to finish with an even record. South Sydney's biggest losing margin was 28-12 against the Roosters, away at Bankwest, when the season resumed in round three.

Run metres differential

Moving upfield wasn't an issue for the Rabbitohs, who averaged 1767 metres per game (fifth in the league) across 20 rounds. And they didn't give up yardage easily either, conceding 1596m (fourth) per match.

Those results gave South Sydney the fifth-best run metre differential of 170.4, streets ahead of Newcastle (65.7) in sixth.

Try scoring - game time

With such an explosive backline, it was no shock to see the Rabbitohs consistently find the in-goal area. They scored 86 tries in the regular season - the fourth-most in the league and eight behind leaders Penrith - before adding a whopping 17 in three finals games.

In the home and away rounds, South Sydney scored the bulk of their tries (29) between the 21st minute to half-time (33.7 percent).

Bennett's boys were also fast finishers, bagging 22 four-pointers from the 61st to 80th minute.

Winger Alex Johnston's five tries in the final round took his tally to a league-high 20 for the year. He scored three more in the finals.

Tries conceded - game time

Defensively the Rabbitohs were sound, only conceding 65 tries (seventh in league) across the regular season. The opening 20 minutes of matches was their most vulnerable, with 18 tries (27.6 percent) falling in that period. They conceded 17 tries in the last quarter but tightened the screws either side of half-time.

Tries scored from six-agains

In many ways, the increased speed from the six-again infringement rule was a dream for South Sydney. Dynamic hooker Damien Cook loves to scamper after quick play-the-balls while halves Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds are able to play flat, direct and off-the-cuff.

The Bunnies ranked second with 19 tries following six-again calls and only conceded 12 in that manner themselves.

Metres gained from offloads

Back-rower Cameron Murray was the team's offload specialist, moving the ball on 30 times across the season - to help the Rabbitohs gain 287 metres.

Fellow forward Liam Knight (22 offloads, 223.4m) was also strong, while Jaydn Su'A (21 offloads, 99.4m) produced a similar output but not quite the same level of effectiveness.

Cook (12 offloads, 86.9m) and Walker (11 offloads, 83.4m) rounded out the top five in this department.

Goal-kicking accuracy

Thanks to Adam Reynolds's deadly right boot, South Sydney's score usually went up in sixes. The team boasted the league-best goal-kicking success rate of 84.6 percent (88 goals from 104 attempts).

Including finals, their halfback and captain, who was the season's top point-scorer, had an impressive success rate of 85 percent.

Players used

They had some injuries, but the Rabbitohs mostly kept the crux of their team intact with 28 players used over the year (13th in NRL).

Comparatively, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and the Warriors used the equal-most with 32 apiece.

Five players made their first-grade debuts wearing the famous cardinal-and-myrtle colours in 2020 - Troy Dargan, Jack Johns, Keaon Koloamatangi, Steven Marsters and Jaxson Paulo.

Squad experience

Based on career games, Souths had the second-most inexperienced squad with an average of 70.6 NRL appearances per player.

The Panthers (66.4 average games) were the least experienced while the Roosters (103.8 games) sat at the head of the table.


Mistakes at times cruelled the Rabbitohs' momentum, particularly in the first half of the year. They finished with the eighth-most errors in the regular season (217). 

However, a high error rate wasn't necessarily a bad thing given finalists Parramatta (231), Canberra (229), Sydney Roosters (227), Cronulla (225) and premiers Melbourne (221) were all worse.

2020 Form Guide

Round Opposition Venue Result
1 Sharks ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 22-18
2 Broncos Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Lost 22-18
3 Roosters Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Lost 28-12
4 Storm AAMI Park, Melbourne Lost 22-8
5 Titans Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 32-12
6 Warriors Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 40-12
7 Panthers Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney Won 20-12
8 Bulldogs Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 10-26
9 Wests Tigers Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 18-10
10 Knights Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Lost 20-18
11 Raiders GIO Stadium, Canberra Lost 18-12
12 Dragons Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney Won 24-32
13 Broncos ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 28-10
14 Cowboys Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville Won 30-31
15 Sea Eagles ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 56-16
16 Eels Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 0-38
17 Storm ANZ Stadium, Sydney Lost 16-22
18 Wests Tigers Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 24-26
19 Bulldogs ANZ Stadium, Sydney Lost 16-26
20 Roosters ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 60-8
Finals Week 1 Knights ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 46-20
Finals Week 2 Eels Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 24-38
Finals Week 3 Panthers ANZ Stadium, Sydney Lost 20-16


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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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