Jason Demetriou.
Jason Demetriou has still got the support of his team as he fights for his future at South Sydney. Image by Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Rabbitohs made point to fight for Demetriou: Walker

Scott Bailey April 14, 2024

South Sydney players are fighting for coach Jason Demetriou after a gutsy outing that still ended in their fifth loss of the season, Cody Walker says.

Torn apart by injuries and left with only one man on the bench for the second half, the Rabbitohs turned in their most spirited performance of the season on Saturday against Cronulla.

But their 34-22 defeat was their fifth loss in six games to start the year, leaving the proud club last on the ladder ahead of next week’s bye.

Cody Walker
 “We fight for the jersey and fight for the coach,” Cody Walker said. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS 

South Sydney officials had conceded they may need to do some “hard thinking” if the side did not show more determination against Cronulla.

But with captain Cameron Murray among the injured, and close to $4 million in talent on the sidelines, Walker insisted the players were still putting in the effort for Demetriou.

“We always try and go out there and fight for the jersey and fight for the coach,” Walker said.

“We’ve got tremendous respect for JD and how much work he puts in. We wanted to show that tonight. I thought we did that.

“The scoreline probably doesn’t reflect the tightness in the game. But you can see the effort and the energy.”

While Murray should return from a concussion for Souths’ next game against Melbourne on April 25, Tyrone Munro (collarbone) and Tevita Tatola (foot) remain in serious doubt.

It’s also questionable whether Demetriou will be still there on Anzac Day.

The Souths coach said on Saturday night he expected to hold onto his position, after a run that has brought just five wins in 19 games since his side topped the table last May.

The Rabbitohs’ defence remains a big issue – they have conceded 26 points or more in 15 of those games.

Demetriou said he had every reason to be impressed by Saturday night’s effort.

“I can’t be prouder of the boys,” he said.

“As a coach, what you want to do is turn up and fight for each other and fight for their jersey and show what the club means to them.

“We saw that tonight.”

Demetriou also offered an explanation for storming out of a press conference after 27 seconds on Friday, following four questions about his future.

The Souths coach had been subject to reports the club were eying off Mal Meninga as a potential interim replacement for the rest of the year.

“I’m walking out to do a press conference with the noise that’s going on and the things that have been said and done,” Demetriou said.

“There’s no real point me standing there answering questions about it. It doesn’t serve any purpose for the players, it doesn’t serve any purpose for me.

“So I said what I needed to say and I ended the interview.”