BUILDING A CONTENDER
1: Corey Allan — Former Broncos junior who Richardson signed before he’d played NRL
. 2: Alex Johnston — Star local junior. “You didn’t have to be a genius (to recognise his talent),” said Richo.
16: Jed Cartwright — Souths chased him hard four years ago when he was at Gold Coast but he chose Penrith.
4: Dane Gagai — The only big-money recruit on Souths’ roster when he came down from Newcastle. 5: Jaxson Paulo — Came through the Gold Coast system, Souths signed him while playing for Burleigh Bears.
6: Cody Walker — Never made it at Melbourne or Gold Coast but now up with best in the game.
7: Adam Reynolds — Another local junior who got his shot after Chris Sandow signed with the Eels.
8: Tevita Tatola — A Tigers offcut that Willie Peters recommended, came on a minimum train-and-trial contract. Now a contender for NSW.
9: Damien Cook — Arguably the game’s greatest success story given his previous struggles at the Dragons and Bulldogs.
10: Tom Burgess — The last of the Burgess brothers to arrive at Souths, has now played more Tests than any of his brothers.
11: Jaydn Su’A — Came to Souths to play under Bennett. Seen as new Sam Burgess-type enforcer. 12: Bailey Sironen — Another Tigers reject who came for minimum wage. Was on the bench for Wests in NSW Cup when Ben Rogers told Richo to sign him.
13: Cameron Murray — “You’ll remember we didn’t sign Nat Butcher,” Richo said. “He went to the Roosters because he wanted ridiculous money. But we also knew we had Cameron Murray.”
14: Mark Nicholls — Another minimum-wage cheapie. Was a backup in Melbourne system.
15: Liam Knight — Came from Canberra after previous stints at Manly and Roosters. “We got him cheap, really cheap,” Richo said.
17: Keaon Koloamatangi — Son of a Mascot junior who grew up near Blacktown. His dad drove him in for training every day so he could be a Souths junior.
19: Hame Sele — Another minimum contract signing. Joined Rabbitohs late in the pre-season after previous stints at Dragons and Panthers.