King’s reign to end with Rabbitohs’ reserves
RABBITOHS centre Matt King has never seen depth as strong at a club as it is right now at South Sydney.
And that includes the 2007 season he had with the Melbourne Storm when it won the premiership, before being stripped of the title three years later for salary cap breaches.
The competition for spots among Souths' outside backs is so strong that King, a former Blues and Kangaroos star, is resigned to the fact he has played his last first-grade game.
The 33-year-old, who broke his arm for the second time in six months in March and will retire at the end of 2013, said the club's outside backs including Nathan Merritt, Bryson Goodwin, rookie Dylan Walker and Dylan Farrell were all in great form.
That has meant players such as Andrew Everingham, Justin Hunt and King have been forced to play for the Rabbitohs' NSW Cup team, the North Sydney Bears.
"I don't think I've ever seen a situation like this one at Souths before," said King, whose late try for the Bears last Sunday over Newcastle put his team into the preliminary final. "Only Beau Champion and Michael Crocker are unavailable - that's a crazy stat, but it's great to see us so healthy.
"Personally, it's a bitter pill to swallow that I'm not going to finish my career in first grade. But I'm so proud of the guys in the team ... they're going so well."
King said he had been blown away by the form of Walker, who's just 19.
"He's got that typical Gen Y confidence about him. I don't know where these kids get it from," King said.
"He's got so much power which makes him so quick and dangerous."
King said Souths' next opponent, the Sea Eagles, led by inspirational skipper Jamie Lyon, would provide a stern challenge in Friday night's preliminary final at ANZ Stadium, despite coming off bruising finals against the Roosters and Sharks.
"They always come good at this time of year around grand-final time because of the experience in the team," he said. "Jamie Lyon's form has been ridiculous - unlike me, he seems to be getting better as he gets older."