The secret behind Souths’ record WCC win

The smiles that crept across the faces of each South Sydney player, and even the normally unflappable Michael Maguire, gave away the secret behind their record-breaking World Club Challenge win.


It wasn’t the ball-playing back-rowers, Glenn Stewart and John Sutton, who wreaked havoc on the edges of St Helens’ defence, nor the freakish defensive efforts which held their opponents to zero points.

Rather, it concerned halfback Adam Reynolds’s cheeky field goal with the clock winding down which took the Rabbitohs’ lead to 39 points – a record in the fixture.

That one point meant this magnificent South Sydney side, who in the past six months have claimed the NRL premiership, been crowned world champions, won the Auckland Nines and retained the Charity Shield, had another piece of history attached to it.

Surely a coach as meticulous as Maguire, who manages games down to the minute, would be conscious of the record which was right before his side?

So you ask Maguire, whose demeanour is normally more in line with a Buckingham Palace Guard, had a message been sent out that the record was in play?

“I wasn’t aware. I was told that at the end of the game that we broke the record,” Maguire, doing his best to maintain a straight face, explained.

“It was the players (who called for it).

“I think Adam, at that time, just saw an opportunity and he took it.”

Captain Greg Inglis, sitting alongside Maguire in the press conference, couldn’t help but crack a small grin.

That they took the honour from fierce rivals Sydney Roosters, who had beaten St Helens 38-0 in 2003 and shared that winning margin with the 2000 Melbourne Storm side, likely makes the record extra special.

One by one the Bunnies players lined up to express their surprise.

Some, such as the straight-faced Reynolds, sold it better than others like halves partner Luke Keary who beamed when asked about it.

“Oh no, I had no idea – I promise you,” the five-eighth said earnestly while stifling laughter.

“We were a bit all over the shop there and when Adam came back on (having left the field with concussion) we thought we’d just settle it down and put one point over and then get control of the game again.”

Most observers at Langtree Park felt the Rabbitohs were in reasonable control of the game at 38-0 up, with two minutes remaining.

Unless, perhaps, they had a record on their minds.

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