NRL Rivalry: Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs
NRL Rivalry: Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs

It’s the longest-running and fiercest rivalry in the NRL.

Author: Matthew Keogh
Matthew Keogh
Communications Manager
14th Mar, 22·☕️ 6 min read

The Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs are the only foundation clubs left in the NRL, which may explain their intense competition.

Both forming in 1908, this cross-town rivalry has been boiling away for over 110 years.

Let’s explore how the feud will continue in NRL season 2022.


2022 Fixture: Roosters v Rabbitohs

Round 3: Friday, March 25 at Accor Stadium.
Round 25: Friday, September 2 at Alliance Stadium.

Roosters 2022 Preview

It looks like Trent Robinson’s men have all the ingredients for a tilt at this year’s premiership.

While Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend departed, there’s a fresh batch of young talent coming through including Sam Walker, Victor Radley, Sam Verrills and Joseph Suaalii.

The Roosters will also welcome back Luke Keary and Lindsay Collins, who both spent a chunk of 2021 sidelined with ACL tears.

Roosters to Watch

Sam Walker. After claiming the NRL’s Dally M Rookie of the Year, can Walker back up in 2022?

Luke Keary. Back from a 2021 Round 3 season-ending ACL injury, can the dominant five-eighth return to his Australian international form?

Victor Radley. A small ball playing lock forward, who plays with plenty of aggression, can Radley help the Roosters pack assert dominance this year?

Rabbitohs 2022 Preview

Out with the old, in with the new.

At the end of 2021, South Sydney said goodbye to their coach of 3 seasons Wayne Bennett and their 231 game captain Adam Reynolds.

Coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Panthers in the 2021 Grand Final, the Bunnies still have a strong team with Cameron Murray, Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Jai Arrow leading the way.

Rabbitohs to Watch

Cameron Murray. The first time captain will feel like he’s got the weight of the club on his shoulders after the loss of several senior leaders. Can he stand up?

Cody Walker. With Reynolds missing this year, the Rabbitohs will miss a bit of structure. There will be pressure on Walker to lead, will this hamper his instinctive style of play?

Lachlan Ilias. The promising Rookie has big shoes to fill after the departure of Rabbitohs Legend, Adam Reynolds. Will the 21 year-old handle the pressure?

The One-On-One Matchup for 2022

Latrell Mitchell v Joey Manu

In Round 24, 2021 Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell collected Roosters star Joey Manu with his shoulder in the 58th minute.

Mitchell was suspended for 6 matches, while Manu sustained a serious facial injury and didn’t play again in 2021.

We’re guessing the bad blood between these teams will only intensify after this sinister incident. Look out for Round 3 and 25 this year.

Latrell v Manu

The Last 5 Encounters

Round 24, 2021Rabbitohs def. Roosters 54-12
Round 3, 2021Rabbitohs def. Roosters 26-16
Round 20, 2020Rabbitohs def. Roosters 60-8
Round 3, 2020Roosters def. Rabbitohs 28-12
Qualifier, 2019Roosters def. Rabbitohs 30-6

*Up to date as of March 15, 2022.

How the Roosters v Rabbitohs Rivalry Began

Souths first met the Roosters (aka Eastern Suburbs or Sydney City) in round 3, 1908. The Roosters won by a single point, 13-12.

According to historians, the rivalry flared up in the 1950s due to disagreements over junior territories.

The bitterness has festered over the years with both teams typically playing each other twice in the regular season.

Most Memorable Recent Clash

Round 19, 2012

With 4 minutes left in the game, Mitchell Pearce scored a try to make it 22-12.

Then the Rabbitohs did the unthinkable. First, Nathan Merritt scored. Then, with a minute left, Rookie Adam Reynolds got on the end of a nice play, scoring the match-winning try.

The two late Rabbitoh tries stole victory from the jaws of defeat for a 24-22 win.

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The Best Players to Play for Both Clubs

Ron Coote

The clubs compete for the Ron Coote cup every year. Coote played at South Sydney from 1964-71, winning four premierships, he then crossed over and won two more with the Roosters.

Luke Keary

The key playmaker won flags with both clubs, the Rabbitohs in 2014 and the Roosters in 2018 and 2019.

He played 63 games for South Sydney between 2013-16 before switching to the Roosters ahead of the 2017 season. Since then, he’s made over 70 appearances for the Roosters.

Latrell Mitchell

The superstar fullback scored 65 tries in 96 games for the Roosters before moving to the Rabbitohs ahead of the 2020 NRL season.

Tale of the Tape

CategorySydneySouth Sydney
ColloquialEasts, ChooksSouth, Bunnies
CoachTrent RobinsonJason Demetriou
CaptainJames TedescoCameron Murray
2021 finishFifthRunners up
ImmortalsDally Messenger, Dave Brown, Arthur Beetson, Bob FultonClive Churchill
Most cappedMitchell Aubusson (306)John Sutton (336)
Highest points scorerCraig Fitzgibbon (1,376)Adam Reynolds (1,896)
H2H since 199828 wins17 wins
All-time H2H103 wins118 wins

*Correct as of March 15, 2022.

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