Rabbitohs to target Townsville talent after announcing new affiliation deal: Off-season Central

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have announced a two-year affiliation agreement with the Townsville Blackhawks.


The agreement will provide Blackhawks Queensland Cup players with opportunities to train full-time with the Rabbitohs’ NRL squad, while also creating a pathway for elite juniors from Townsville and surrounding areas.


It will also provide professional opportunities for coaches and staff from both clubs.



The Townsville Blackhawks, who previously fed to the Cowboys, have been a part of the Queensland Cup since 2015. They’ve played in six finals series’, have won one minor premiership and featured in one grand final.


The agreement comes just six days after the Rabbitohs’ announced a three-year affiliation relationship with famous rugby league nursery, Keebra Park State High, located on the Gold Coast.


Brock Schaefer, the Rabbitohs’ chief operating officer, hopes that local Townsville talent will use the opportunity to chase their NRL dream via Souths instead of the Cowboys.


“We have great respect and admiration for the Townsville Blackhawks. Our clubs share many values and both place the community at the heart of our operations,” he said.


“We’re looking forward to kickstarting this partnership with the Blackhawks as we see this providing great opportunities to players, coaches and staff from both organisations.


“Similar to our agreement with Keebra Park State High School, we have identified in our strategic plan and our football review that we need to continue to grow our footprint and increase our investment in our elite pathway programs.


“This has proven to be a marker of success at the NRL level of the game and this affiliation agreement will complement the local pathway we have set up in the NSWRL competitions.


“We understand that for many young players coming out of Townsville and the surrounding districts that the Cowboys may be the club with which they choose to pursue their career and we fully respect that, however we will be working with the Blackhawks to encourage players that wish to broaden their horizon and look elsewhere to make the Rabbitohs their choice of NRL club.”


Schaefer also revealed South Sydney will be “working towards playing pre-season second-tier matches between the (two) clubs.”


Souths experienced great success in the New South Wales-based second-tier competition, winning the premiership and also the NRL State

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