Is there a bigger South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter than Russell Moriarty?
The Mudgee High School student has all the Rabbitohs gear from hat to socks to even a miniature NRL premiership trophy that had coloured streamers representing the respective grand final teams.
But after 43 years of not featuring in the competition’s show-piece event, Russ and his band of Rabbitohs are hoping the self-declared “Pride of the League” can climb to the top of the premiership mountain.
“They last won the grand final in 1971. It was against St George and they won 16-10,” Russell said.
Russell started supporting the Rabbitohs when he was four, despite the club not playing in the competition.
After the 1999 season Souths, and other foundation clubs such as North Sydney, Balmain and Western Suburbs were either forced to merge or booted out of the competition.
The Rabbitohs were omitted and it took them two seasons to get back into the competition.
“They [South Sydney] are going to win by eight points and it is going to be an epic grand final."
A few torrid seasons followed where they finished with the wooden spoon in 2003, 2004 and 2006, but Russ maintained his faith in the bunnies.
His faith has been rewarded with a grand final appearance against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
“They are going to win by eight points and it is going to be an epic grand final,” the 18-year-old said, who will attend the grand final with his parents.
“It is going to be a rugged battle between the two Poms.”
Those two Poms are Rabbitohs’ Sam Burgess and Bulldogs’ James Graham - the leaders of their respective forward packs.
Although the rabbits have lost Isaac Luke to suspension, Russell said other players will step up.
“Greg Inglis at fullback, Alex Johnston will score and the Burgess boys will have a blinder,” Russell said before tipping Sam Burgess to win the Clive Churchill medal for being the best player on the field.
“Adam Reynolds [is my favourite player]. He is tough, a great goal kicker and he will match it with Trent Hodkinson.”
If Souths do win on Sunday, Russell said it might be a better moment than when the Mudgee Dragons won the Group 10 premiership in 2009.
“I will be overjoyed,” he said. “I want to shout out to Robert Orr, Roger Lang, Brian Jeffery, Will and Swampy [Greg] Parker, and all the South Sydney supporters."