Host with most to prove: Jacob jumps at chance with Rabbitohs
Sat 27 Feb 2021, 07:01 AM
South Sydney’s impressive recruitment drive was headlined by Benji Marshall, Josh Mansour and Jai Arrow but lower-profile signing Jacob Host is ready to make a big impact at Redfern.
He is one of “a host” of key arrivals over the off-season in a bid to help end a three-year preliminary final run with a grand final appearance.
The retirements of Sam Burgess and John Sutton, and the defection of Angus Crichton to the Roosters, have left a hole in the Rabbitohs’ edge stocks in previous years.
Cameron Murray spent time at back row last season but is now likely to remain in the middle following Host’s arrival, while Jaydn Su’A showed promise during his first complete campaign with the club.
With Su’A likely to take control on the right edge, Host has been training predominantly on the left alongside Cody Walker, Dane Gagai and Alex Johnston.
“I feel like there’s a massive opportunity there to take that spot and it’s solely on me to do that,” Host told NRL.com.
“There’s a lot of talent everywhere you look so I’ll try and do my job the best I can. If I can just keep working hard I might bear some fruit for my labour.”
Host will line up against his former teammates in Mudgee on Saturday night after the 24-year-old played 51 games for the club over a five-year period.
Unwanted under Paul McGregor’s tenure, Host was approached by Rabbitohs assistant Jason Demetriou, who worked with the former Australian Schoolboy representative while both were at the Illawarra Cutters in 2016.
NRL.com understands there was a last-minute bid for Host to remain in the Red V when Anthony Griffin was appointed coach in October, but ultimately Souths had got their man.
“I’m loving every minute so far,” Host said.
"It [the move] has been under the radar a little bit but I do like that. I feel like I needed to take that next step in my career and Souths seemed the best for that.
"There wasn’t any bad blood between the Dragons and me but there just wasn’t a deal at the time and this is where I ended up.
“When JD contacted me during the season and said he wanted me to come over my mind was made up.”