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Old Dogs ready to bite - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Wed, 28 Feb 2007 15:44:00 GMT
South Sydney star recruit Roy Asotasi will be looking to emulate the culture of success he's been used to when the 2007 Charity Shield gets underway on Saturday night.

Asotasi – kicking off a brand new five-year deal with last year’s Wooden Spoon titleholders – is expected to bring a wave of confidence if history remains on his side.

The Kiwi prop who played for Canterbury-Bankstown over five-seasons, won an NRL premiership in his 3rd season of first grade while missing out on the finals only twice.

On Saturday night, he’ll run out onto the field in a squad featuring other former Bulldogs stars, Nigel Vagana and Daniel Irvine.

Throw in former Bulldogs recruitment manager, Mark Hughes and comparisons can be made to another NRL team that struggled for what seemed like an eternity but eventually benefited wonderfully with a bit of help from Belmore.

That team is North Queensland.

Like the Rabbitohs, they purchased talent both on and off the field from Canterbury in the build-up to their first finals appearance.

And while Jonathon Thurston is a player the blue and white brigade would still like to have, much adulation for the Cowboys was dedicated to their decision to buy another former Bulldogs star named Travis Norton.

Heading into 2004, the Cowboys told the media that the main cause for the optimism at the club back then was the arrival Norton himself.

Norton was viewed as a ‘good fellow, a good trainer’ with ‘a good football brain,’ according to Cowboys coach Graham Murray.

All qualities the critics see in the 103kg Auckland-born star who will make his highly anticipated debut in the red and green this weekend.

Many also said the Cowboys' most prized acquisition was actually Billy Johnstone, the former Canterbury fitness guru (now with the Titans) who helped develop a winning culture at North Queensland.

South Sydney understands that to turn the table over, you need several pairs of hands. Some of those hands will be from invaluable minds off the field. That's where Hughes comes in.

Together Irvine, Vagana, Asotasi and Hughes will be united in attempting to re-create what they’ve experienced inside a club where black holes have swallowed many.

The Dragons will be the first team the new look Souths will attempt to teach a simple lesson to. Like the Bulldogs, the Rabbitohs have teeth and this breed likes to bite.

The rabbitohs will be in search of their third consecutive Charity Shield title, having won the past two Charity Shield matches.

“Despite the game not having two points on the line, it is still important for us to perform well in our final hit out before we play the Roosters in round one,” Rabbitohs Head Coach Jason
Taylor said.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our Kiwi contingent playing together, and also assessing how our combinations are developing.”

South Sydney: David Peachey, Paul Mellor, Nigel Vagana, Shannon Hegarty, Reece Simmonds, John Sutton, Joe Williams, Peter Cusack ©, Stuart Webb, Roy Asotasi, David Kidwell ©, Luke Stuart and David Fa’alogo. Interchange: Daniel Irvine, Dean Widders, Scott Geddes, Manase Manuokafoa, Joe Galuvao, Jaiman Lowe, Shane Rigon, Jeremy Smith, Germaine Paulson, Fetuli Talanoa Coach – Jason Taylor.

St Geo-Illawarra: Josh Morris, Luke MacDougall, Wes Naiqama, Matt Cooper Chase Stanley, Mark Gasnier, Ben Hornby, Chris Houston, Simon Woolford, Dan Hunt, Ashton Sims, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh. Interchange: Adam Peek, Danny Wicks, Corey Payne, Lagi Setu, Ben Ellis, Charlie Leaeno, Ricky Thorby. Coach: Nathan Brown

Three grades of Rugby League will be played on Saturday with the North Sydney Bears taking on the St George Illawarra Dragons in Premier League at 6:05pm, and Shellharbour playing Raymond Terrace in the opening match at 4:35pm. - Read More, Here