Still Hate the Roosters (Part III): We Suffer Together, We Live Together

The Burrow in enemy territory!

The Burrow in enemy territory!

Reuniting with my mates in The Burrow and getting a hug off of Reggie was certainly the high point of the night at Allianz for me.  Also, speaking of which, I would like to apologize to my readers and fans about the video quality of the clip shown in the previous article.  I wasn’t fully aware that I had the camcorder pointed downwards and tilted to the side.  I was so flush with excitement, that I was not paying attention to where my camera was pointed.  Luckily, there were some fans in the stands who were shooting me much better than I did with my camcorder.  But hey, I got Reggie and I on my camcorder and that is all that matters!  But I digress…

The only thing that would have made that night at Allianz a truly unforgettable night would be a Rabbitohs win.  That, plus The Burrow and Reggie would have made it a Rabbitohs trifecta of awesomeness.  What I didn’t realize was that this night at Allianz would be memorable for a different reason.

Roosters and Rabbitohs: A Classic Rivalry

Roosters and Rabbitohs: A Classic Rivalry

The Roosters had struck first with a penalty goal that gave them a two-point kick.  Shortly afterwards, the Rabbitohs countered with a penalty goal of their own.  All tied up, and business as usual on the Aussie gridiron.  Minutes later, the Roosters finally broke the tie with a try and successful conversion; Roosters led 8-2.  The most exciting moment of the first half came when Rabbitohs fullback and superstar, Greg Inglis, ran the ball for almost 100 meters, sprinting like the proverbial rabbit that he is!  But just about 15 meters short of the try line, he got taken down by Roosters star, Mitchell Pearce.  And like a thorn, he “pierced” my heart and every other bunny in The Burrow.  Puns!  Despite GI’s speed, we just couldn’t deliver that ball across the line.

"Run, GI, Run!"

“Run, GI, Run!”

Unfortunately, I would have to wait a LONG time before the Bunnies would hit the try line for the first time.  The halftime siren echoed throughout Allianz; the score was 8-2 in favor of the Roosters.  Seeing those red and blue fans waving their enormous flags in our faces certainly wasn’t helping us one bit!  I mean, I know it was an away game, but to not hear “Glory Glory to South Sydney” when the team came out of the tunnel?  C’mon!  Still, I was doing my best to contain my animosity.  During halftime, I was meandering around The Burrow, asking every bunny I met from last year’s game to autograph my poster.  Why couldn’t high school reunions or family reunions be this much fun?!

Sing along with The Burrow!

Sing along with The Burrow!

"In Australia, Rabbits sing the loudest, and proudest!"

“In Australia, Rabbits sing the loudest, and proudest!”

The second half came and everyone in The Burrow was ready and raring for a Souths comeback.  One thing that I have to say about Souths is that they sure know how to make a second half of footy exciting!  Almost every game that I had seen all season long, the Rabbitohs usually saved their bunny mojo for the second when they would make a classic come-from-behind win!  That, however, would not be the case tonight.  For the first twenty-five minutes of the second half, I watched helplessly as my beloved bunnies got outfoxed by those darned Chooks.  It was just one after another missed tackle and error, left and right.  It was a so-called comedy of errors, only no one was laughing.  I heard more cursing and grumbling coming from The Burrow than I did last year.  The Roosters managed to up the score to 22-2; suffice it to say, this is NOT how I envisioned my return to Sydney.  But just when all our enthusiasm had been all but extinguished, the unthinkable happened:  RABBITOHS TRY!  After waiting what seemed like an eternity, the Rabbitohs scored their first try!  With less than twenty minutes to go, I knew it would take something short of a miracle for the Bunnies to rebound, let alone retake the lead and win!  Sure enough, in true Souths fashion, the Bunnies scored two more tries, closing the gap at  22-18 in favor of the Roosters.  Suddenly, every fan in The Burrow found their mojo!  After that third try was scored, I exploded out of my seat and waved my poster with the kind of ferocity a lifelong Souths fan would do when the team is winning!  I knew the clock was ticking down with less than three minutes to go, but I wondered if I was in the presence of possible comeback?  Then it hit me: the score was exactly identical to when the Roosters played the Rabbitohs two years ago at Allianz.  It was the magical come-from-behind win where the Bunnies scored two tries in the last minute of game play to defeat the Roosters 24-22 in what many Souths fans call the ultimate comeback game!  Could it be possible that I would be a witness to a Rabbitohs comeback in the face of the Roosters?!  One try plus conversion is all it would take to recreate the magic.  Even though Adam Reynolds, the man who made the unforgettable try, was benched from an illegal tackle from the previous bout against the Bulldogs last week (which I still call BS on!), I knew we had to make due with or without him.  On 5th tackle, the Rabbitohs punted the ball about 20 meters from the try line and in the short time the ball hung in midair, I saw out entire season flash before my red and green eyes (which are actually brown!).  It sunk into the corner of the try line, then bounced out back into the field, and just when it looked like the Rabbitohs would “Return the Favor” as Warren Smith so eloquently put it when the Bunnies won two years ago, the Gods of footy denied us a win.  The ball was batted out by a Roosters player, and I fell into my seat; disappointment manifesting itself as a 28-year old Yank who just flew 16,000 km to see just why Rabbitohs fans have suffered for over 40 seasons.  Our valiant efforts were all for naught as the final siren whirred finishing off the game.  Final score: 22-18 in favor of… ugh…Roosters.

There was no joy from The Burrow.  There was no toasting of beer.  There were no melodic chantings of “Botany Road” or “Glory Glory to South Sydney”.  There were no hugs of joy and excitement.  There is no joy in Mudville.  Oh, wait, that’s “Casey at the Bat”.  Whoops!  We were merely getting what was coming to us.  But as we picked up our belongings and began shuffling our feet out of the stadium, I slowly took notice of everyone holding hands together, embracing one another, and almost everyone hurrying down to the end zone to wave to the team, or at least Reggie.  In spite of the heroic efforts of our Bunnies, the fans still stood and saluted them.  And that is just one more reason I admire this club.  Because even after a match like that, they still stand tall and wear their scarves with pride, rather than throw them in anguish.  And the Rabbitohs on the field returned that same with a long wave to The Burrow.  We Bunnies are a close-knit bunch.  But just imagine how close we will get when we win that elusive Grand Final!  Losing that game, however, also meant our shot at winning the Minor Premiership (getting first place on the NRL ladder) was rendered moot.  Not to mention we could not have a home game qualifying match at ANZ Stadium.  No “Glory Glory to South Sydney”?  I know I have said it over and over before, but it is arguably my favorite thing about being at a Rabbitohs game!  GO BUNNIES!

"We Salute the Australian Bunnies!"

“We Salute the Australian Bunnies!”

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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One Response to Still Hate the Roosters (Part III): We Suffer Together, We Live Together

  1. Craig H says:

    Don’t worry mate, we’ll get ’em next time!

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