It's been a while since I posted about the Bunnies so here's a quick recap of the season so far:
Lost their first 7 games. Finally won a game in round 8. Lost the next 3. Chris Sandow has his first grade debut against the New Zealand Warriors and Souths haven't been beaten since. Five in a row.
Here's some of Chris's story
$30,000 for buy of the season Chris Sandow
By James Phelps | July 14, 2008 12:00am
WHAT a bargain - $20,000, a job and a bedroom at Botany. That is the price the Rabbitohs paid for the Aboriginal wonder kid who has resurrected their season.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal that teenage sensation Chris Sandow was signed by the Rabbitohs for a package worth no more than $30,000.
Pocket change for a kid who has become the hottest player in the NRL after five stunning performances.
"I have kept a close eye on Chris for a long time," said Souths recruitment manager Mark Hughes.
"When I knew he was available, I just jumped. I had to have him there and then. We all knew he was going to be that good."
Sandow's story is complicated.
The former Australian schoolboy star was picked up by the Rabbitohs for the bargain basement price as his career lay at the crossroads.
At just 18, he was on the verge of rugby league oblivion after being dumped by the Titans for poor discipline.
For failing to turn up to physio sessions and being an erratic trainer who seemed to have his mind elsewhere.
Sandow's mother Rhonda last night lifted the lid on her son's tumultuous time on the Gold Coast - and revealed the secret inspiration driving the kid dubbed the "Aboriginal Alfie".
"He called me while he was at the Titans and said, 'Mum are you standing up or sitting down?' " Rhonda said.
"I said, 'What do you want me to do?' He said, 'You better sit down'.
"Then he told me his girlfriend was four months pregnant. "He was recovering from shoulder surgery and was injured for most of the year.
"He really struggled at the time because he wasn't doing much training and then had the pressure of knowing he was about to be a dad.
"He didn't even tell me about the baby until June when his partner was four months pregnant.
"And I don't think he told anyone at the club."
Stephen Sandow is now seven months old.
He lives with his mother Mari, 20, and his grandmother Rhonda in Cherbourg, a heartbreaking 1106km away from Redfern Oval.
"It is very tough for him and I really think he is missing his family," Rhonda said. "But he just had to go and have a crack. Opportunities like this come along once in a lifetime.
"And in a way I think it has been good for him. The baby has really helped him grow up and made him want more out of life.
"Maybe Mari and the baby have been a very good thing for him."
Sandow has certainly been a good thing for the Rabbitohs.
Since making his debut against the Warriors in round 13, South Sydney have not lost a game.
And Hughes, who first signed Sandow to a scholarship when he was the recruitment man at Bulldogs, isn't surprised.
"He was always going to be special," Hughes said.
"I picked him up at Burleigh when he was 14 but we ended up losing him to the Titans. He was small but he just had it all."
In fact, the Rabbitohs must have had an inkling of the 72kg storm that was about to hit the NRL.
On the eve of his first-grade debut, Sandown was summoned into the club's offices and signed for a further two years on an upgraded deal worth an estimated $100,000 a year.
"I would hate to think what would have happened if we didn't lock him away then," Hughes said.
"Could you imagine the number of clubs after him now?"
And when the new contract begins in November, Sandown will finally have enough money to reunite his family.
"Yeah, he is going to bring Mari and Stephen down to Sydney in November," Rhonda said.
"It will make it all worth it."
Family man ... Chris Sandow at home in Cherbourg with mother Rhonda. Photograph: Dean Marzolla / The Daily Telegraph