2019 QLD Premier Rugby Season Review: Souths
The backend of the season didn’t quite pan out as Souths’ fans would have hoped, after a strong start to their 2019 campaign.
Set piece trouble plagued the Magpies all year, but with plenty of young talent pushing into grade following a successful season in colts, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future at Chipsy Wood Oval.
Photo Credit: QRU/Brendan Hertel Photography
Overview with Elia Tuqiri:
“It was one of those seasons that leaves you thinking what could have been,” Tuqiri told Rugby News.
“We showed some promising signs in round one and then midway through round two we beat Jeeps and really only needed to win two of our last four matches to make the finals but we couldn’t get the job done, which was really disappointing.
“Our set piece struggled for the majority of the season but our defence got us out of trouble a lot and alleviated some of the set piece issues. I don’t want to make excuses but we also had a few changes late in the year and that’s when we really struggled.
“If you look at that Easts game we played after we beat Jeeps, we just didn’t get up for it. After a big win we thought we could match it against anyone in the competition and at that stage, Easts were struggling but mentally we didn’t turn up and it cost us.
“Our good performances came off the back of our defence. When we defended well, our energy was up, our communication lifted and everyone was working hard together. We were able to do that even when our set piece wasn’t going so well.
“We had a game against Easts where we gave away 11 scrum penalties and 22 penalties in total but our defence kept us in that game.
“Eventually, I think that took its toll and towards the back of the season, we couldn’t match those better sides.
“We had a great season with our Colts winning Colts 1 and Colts 2 this year and we’ve still got a fairly young squad in Premier Grade so I think if those guys can stay fit and healthy and hang around, I really think Souths will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.”
Which of your non contracted players deserves to play at a higher level?
“I think Jake Strachan deserves a crack. He didn’t get an NRC gig in Queensland but he’s ended up going across and playing with the Western Force, which is good to see,” Tuqiri said.
“Ralph Evalu had his best season in a long time and it was disappointing that he didn’t get picked up. Then you’ve got Emori Waqavulagi who was the top try scorer again this year. Those guys deserved to get picked up but they’ll keep at it.”
What needs to happen at Souths between now and round one next year?
“We need to get our tight five ready to compete at scrum and line out time. We need the calibre and depth of players to be able to compete against sides like UQ, Jeeps and Brothers.
“To beat them, you’ve got to match them up front and whether we do that through recruitment, or through developing the players at the club, we need to get it right.”
Bold prediction for 2020:
“Souths will win the 2020 premiership.”