Words to the wise: Souths set sights on Dogs

”Throughout their years of dominance over us they have shown no contrition, no mercy; indeed they have seemed to thrive on brutality, almost as if they are forever taking revenge on us for Bobby McCarthy and the 1967 grand final. Well they have had enough revenge for McCarthy, enough revenge for a lifetime. It is time we took some revenge of our own for the way in which they have treated us on the field for the last 25 years.”This is the excerpt from Russell Crowe’s Book of Feuds that South Sydney captain Roy Asotasi insists will ensure he and his team-mates are fired up for tonight’s match against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.A Bulldogs premiership winning player, Asotasi admitted to knowing little about the Rabbitohs’ proud history before Crowe convinced him and fellow Kiwi stars David Kidwell and Nigel Vagana to join the club in 2007. Now he can’t see himself playing anywhere else.”I guess the biggest thing about Russell is that he is pretty passionate about this club and he brought in the Book of Feuds in 2007, and that is how all of us as players found out about the history of South Sydney and the rivalries with other clubs,” Asotasi said.”Every time we played a certain club we would read the history between both clubs and I guess that is where I first started to get in touch with the South Sydney history. It is quite exciting. We all got a book each and we all read it, and just checked it out before games.”Asotasi said the players don’t read the book, commissioned by Crowe and written by Mark Courtney, before each game any more but they did use the chapter on the Bulldogs as motivation before their 38-16 win in round four.”They always think they have the edge over South Sydney and we use that as motivation,” he said. ”We used that in the game we played against Canterbury earlier in the season. I read it [the book] before that game and every now and then I get it out and have a bit of a read, just for motivation depending on who we are playing.”Before Crowe lured him to Souths, Asotasi – considered the best prop in the game at the time – was intent on joining English Super League giants St Helens because he didn’t want to play against the Bulldogs.His decision to move to the Rabbitohs no doubt brought even greater satisfaction to the Rabbitohs co-owner because Asotasi spurned an offer from Souths’ greatest rivals, the Roosters, to do so.”You had all of your critics who were saying I’d never play finals football again and all that sort of stuff but I was excited about coming here because I knew that South Sydney had potential,” Asotasi said. ”It was between the Roosters and South Sydney and I decided to go with Souths for the reason that they had potential.”It has taken four seasons, but Asotasi believes the club’s potential is now close to being realised after a carefully planned recruitment program that has seen Souths strengthen their team each year – as Crowe and co-owner Peter Holmes a Court promised when he, Kidwell and Vagana signed.”It was like what they are doing with Israel Folau in AFL. They are hoping that by recruiting someone like him, others will follow and that is the same idea that Russell and Peter had,” Asotasi explained.”Fast forward four years and look where we are now. We’ve been able to get Sam Burgess and Dave Taylor, who are two of the top forwards in the game.”I guess just seeing the side that we had, I guess they were keen to be a part of it and that they were genuine players who wanted to go for the premiership.”Initially reluctant to take on the captaincy when former Souths coach Jason Taylor first approached him about the role, Asotasi now considers it an honour and says he tries to lead with actions rather than words.”This club is one of the foundation clubs and has won 20 premierships so it is an honour for myself to captain such an historic club and I am just hoping that in my time as captain we can get a premiership,” he said. ”That is the biggest thing us as players are looking forward to and South Sydney had its glory days in the 1960s and 1970s and we are hoping that we can bring that back now with the team we have got and create our own history.”
Nanjing Night Net