Residents of Randwick City will have total control of the South Sydney Rugby League team once the Rabbitohs become the first publicly-owned club in the NRL.
The Rabbitohs will soon pass into public ownership after it was revealed that Randwick City ratepayers contributed millions of dollars to the Heffron Centre, but will have access to only a small portion of the facility in Maroubra. Instead, senior players will have exclusive use of large parts of the complex every day of the year, except on Mad Monday.
Once the foundation club completes its transfer from Redfern Oval to Heffron Centre in preparation for the 2023 season, residents of Randwick City will take control of the first-grade team.
Ratepayers will have automatic access to a website and an App, and will be able to vote on player selection and positions, coaching appointments and recruitment.
Residents will decide which players are traded and recruited during the off-season, subject to salary cap restrictions. Residents, and not the club, would therefore have voted on the proposal to release Dane Gagai and Jaydn Su’a, and to trade Adam Reynolds for an ageing, overrated and underperforming half who was the subject of a police investigation and never actually played for the club.
Randwick locals will also determine the team line-up each week, and will vote on whether the game’s best five-eighth should play at full-back if Latrell is side-lined, and whether Captain Cam should start on the bench. Ownership also allows residents to tell Jason Demetriou how to coach in person, and not just from the comfort of their keyboard, and to centre the team’s tactics around one simple premise:
Give the ball to Latrell.
The news will undoubtedly please fans of bespectacled Aussie comedians, movie stars in leather sandals, and politicians who order their adversaries to ‘sit down boofhead’. But public ownership also benefits residents who don’t support the Rabbitohs.
Interlopers from the western suburbs, The Shire, or worse still Queensland, can use this unique situation to sabotage Souths and send them toppling out of the finals – as long as the saboteurs pay rates to Randwick City Council.
“We thank the traditional owners, and the Bra Boys, for granting us permission to establish this state-of-the-art training centre on their land, and we look forward to delivering a premiership to our supporters in return,” read a statement from the club.
“We also defend the club’s access to the community facility. Players desperately need the enormous section of the building dedicated to tattoo artists, unqualified barbers and our army of lawyers.”
Meanwhile, Randwick City ratepayers have been promised a 20% reduction on council rates if the Rabbitohs don’t win the premiership in 2023.
First published in The Beast magazine, July 2022.