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Super League boss sacked after 14 games now favourite for top job

David Furner

After Sam Burgess ruled himself out of the running to become the next South Sydney Rabbitohs head coach, a new favourite has emerged and it’s a name that will be familiar to Super League fans.

Current Souths boss Jason Demetriou is under increasing pressure and is widely expected to be relieved of his duties if the Bunnies lose their next game against Melbourne Storm on Thursday.

The former Wakefield Trinity player has had a tough start to the year in the top job at the Redfern club, winning just one of the opening six games to leave Souths 16th on the NRL ladder.

With their 2024 finals hopes slipping away, reports down under suggest the hierarchy at South Sydney are ready to make a change and his replacement is already in place it seems.

Next South Sydney head coach?

Last Wednesday (April 17), the Rabbitohs announced the return of David Furner to the club as assistant coach, a job he held for a season in 2017, before leaving to become Leeds Rhinos head coach in 2018.

Furner’s stint at Headingley lasted just 14 games, with the Rhinos sacking the Australian after 10 defeats left them flirting with relegation from Super League.

Since then the former back-rower has held assistant coaching roles at Newcastle Knights, Canterbury Bulldogs and Wests Tigers, but has been a free agent since September last year – until last week that is.

The Rabbitohs announced Furner’s return and sold it as the completion of a coaching dream team, with Furner and Demetriou both assistant coaches at Premiership-winning North Queensland Cowboys in 2015.

David Furner lined up as next boss?

The timing of Furner’s arrival has raised a few eyebrows, with the appointment from the outside a play from the Souths board to ease the strain on the under-fire Demetriou.

However, leading media outlets in Australia, such as WAtoday, believe Furner’s arrival is a contingency plan for a coaching restructure in Redfern over the coming weeks.

Reports suggest that if South Sydney lose their next two games, Demetriou will be ousted and Furner thrown into the hot seat to try to resurrect a turbulent season.

As mentioned, the Rabbitohs face Melbourne in Melbourne on Thursday, before a home clash against Premiers Penrith a week later.

The Bunnies know Demetriou is up against it and they have already subtly made the first move to change the direction of a troubled season. They’re just trying to convince us otherwise for the time being in case of a miracle turnaround.

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