Gut-wrenching end to 2017 driving Southern Districts’ pursuit of maiden title

Heading into the 2017 playoffs, Southern Districts had won nine straight matches and looked closer than they’d ever been before to a maiden Shute Shield title. Arguably the form team of the competition, the Rebels finished behind Manly in second spot and faced fifth placed Northern Suburbs in the opening Sunday of the finals. But a day earlier, sixth placed Eastwood shocked the minor premier Marlins, turning Sunday’s semi final into a must win for Souths. In almost identical circumstances to 2016, the Rebels faltered, this time at their first hurdle. Norths were brilliant in a 47-18 victory and forced Souths fans to watch on as their dreams of an illusive premiership disappeared in front of them. “Words can’t really describe the feeling after that game, it was weird and everyone was very quiet after that match,” Rebels captain Marcus Carbone told Rugby News. “I think we all sort of isolated ourselves and I know I was in a pretty dark place for a few days b
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