Jockey celebrates after 43 year drought
IT HAS been 43 long years but Proserpine’s Michael ‘Jockey’ Downer has finally seen South Sydney lift the premiership trophy.
Jockey, who has been a member of Souths his entire life, said it was hard to explain how he felt.
“I watched the 1971 grand final back in Sydney with my parents,” he said.
“Bob McCarthey ran down the sideline and scored. We watched it on a little black and white TV.”
1971 was the last time before Sunday’s game South Sydney had won a premiership and as a dyed in the wool supporter it’s been more hear- tache and pain for Jockey over the years.
In the ‘90s Souths struggled and the Super League war threatened their existence.
Jockey watched in 1999 as it was announced the Rabbitohs would not play in the 2000 season.
The loss of a first-grade team saw the club lose not only its lustre but some of its most talented juniors.
“I didn’t follow league those years,” Jockey said.
“They were bombed out of the comp.”
Many marched on the streets demanding the team to be reinstated and they got their wish in 2002.
However, poor form saw the club with the most premierships in NRL history (21) finish last three times in five seasons.
On Sunday though, Souths relished the opportunity and led by brutal English forward Sam Burgess, who played on with a fractured cheekbone, soared to victory of the Bulldogs 30-6.
“I can’t explain it,” Jockey said, fighting back the tears.
“It’s hard to explain – I’m still crying.”
For Jockey and legions of South Sydney fans the song is now ringing louder and prouder than ever.
Glory, glory to South Sydney.
JOCKEY'S SHOUT: It's been a long time between drinks for South Sydney supporters but local Michael Downer is stoked to see them at the top again after 43 years.