Phil Hardcastle (33)
Followed Souths quite closely last year as I moved close to their playing fields. My observations were they built a great team and structure with Quade as a focal point early in the season, he got injured, the players around him who had plenty of ability had learned to be too reliant on Quade Cooper and the wheels fell off a bit. Quade returns, probably not playing as well as he did for the first part of the season, maybe because clubs had become more aware of his ability to impact the game and this might sound harsh but I felt they weren't really going to challenge for the Premiership in the weeks leading up the Finals.
They should be pretty damn good this year though if they have retained those players (less Quade Cooper and KHunt) and added others.
Is David Pace (hooker) rolling around again - after all the commotion about him getting dispensation to play finals on safety ground (despite the fact that their colts hooker who is in Aus U20 consideration this year was available) - his one scrum late in the minor semi resulted in a penalty against the magpie scrum!!!
One wonders whether if they had got clearance for K Hunt they might have got through to the Prelim against GPS but I don't think anyone was going to stand in front of the Gallopers in 2018.