Exclusive - Champion new Rabbitohs halfback

First Grader
19 July 2005

Champion by name, champion by nature.

That's the stamp of approval South Sydney coach Shaun McRae has given Beau Champion after the teenager took just two first grade games to fill the Rabbitohs' hotly-contested halfback role.

As speculation continued over whether Melbourne's Matt Orford would accept a lucrative offer to become Souths halfback from next year, the 18-year-old Champion kept the No.7 seat warm as his meteoric rise continued.

McRae said Champion's impressive pedigree ensured he had no hesitation throwing the youngster in for the injured halfback Mick Moran (ribs) against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

McRae has become a Champion fan after the youngster juggled high school and Jersey Flegg and Premier League games for Souths at just 17 last year before bursting onto the NRL in 2005.

Champion has also been somewhat of a good luck charm for Souths who have won the two NRL games the Rabbitohs junior has played this year.

The Rabbitohs will be looking to win three straight games for the first time since 1994 against an unchanged Wests Tigers fresh from last round's bye.

"He's handled his first two games very well and he's been handed the halfback role this week," McRae said.

"He's going to be asked a lot of questions but I think he's mature enough to be able to handle that and answer those questions."

Moran has been sidelined "indefinitely".

In other changes, Souths welcomed back Adam MacDougall (hamstring) back a week early from injury while his brother Luke slotted in at fullback for benched Todd Polglase.

Meanwhile, Queensland Origin utility Chris Flannery returns from a calf injury to slot into the centres for dumped Chris Walker and celebrate his 100th first grade game for the Sydney Roosters against Melbourne on Sunday.

The 25-year-old admitted he had not completely recovered from a minor calf tear suffered during Origin III.

"It's a bit sore, but it's coming along well," he said.

"It's a great honour to play 100 games for the Roosters.

"It's been tough watching on the sidelines, so it will be good to get out there and help them."

The Roosters - who have lost two straight - also welcome back enforcer Adrian Morley from a three week suspension into the front row, partnered by Anthony Tupou who fills in for injured Kiwi international Jason Cayless (ankle).

For Melbourne, pivot Scott Hill has still not overcome an ankle injury.
First Grader
Premium Member
i don't mean to be a smartass

but how is this an exclusive, it was listed yesterday that Champion was starting at Half, an people in league circles have been raving about how good champion is for 2 years now
First Grader
Premium Member
plus this has no bearing on Orford (who wont go to souths anyway) as Champion plays anywhere in the backline (primarily fullback or 5/8)
Journey Man

Sutton looks a good 5/8, something we havnt seen since cliffy.

Now they have a couple of decent young halfs could be better to spend the money to secure them long term and build a team.
First Grader
I would love to see Sutton at Manly. He is a genuine ball player. Souths probably have him stitched up long term but he is an exciting find!
Team P W L PD Pts
5 5 0 75 10
4 3 1 8 8
4 2 1 28 7
4 2 2 45 6
4 3 1 16 6
5 3 2 6 6
5 3 2 0 6
4 2 2 -10 6
4 2 2 -14 6
5 2 2 -12 5
4 2 2 23 4
5 2 3 -6 4
4 2 2 -9 4
4 2 2 -13 4
5 1 4 -19 2
5 1 4 -54 2
5 0 5 -64 0
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