Rabbitohs given the key to the City

Thousands of people joined me in Sydney Square beside Town Hall to congratulate the South Sydney Rabbitohs on their remarkable Grand Final victory, and present them with the keys to the City.

The team follows in the footsteps of the late, great Rabbitoh Clive Churchill, who received the Key to the City in 1985.

The hard work and perseverance of this team has brought such pride to our community. Souths have been through many tough years. A lot of time has passed since the team put its hands on the trophy.

When Rugby League was split and teams forced to merge, the powers in charge said there was no place for Souths. But the people and the fans wouldn't give in. 80,000 people marched through the city to the steps of Town Hall to support their club.

It was the fans, members and passionate supporters who fought back, and a huge groundswell kept Souths from being relegated to history. It was delightful to see the team, and its army of supporters, back at Town Hall.

As a Redfern local, I know the whole community is already proud of South's success. The strength and spirit of the team has been inspiring.

Our entire community watched, hoped, shouted and even cried with you. On Sunday night hearts swelled with pride and heads were held high.

In 2007 the City of Sydney began a $32 million upgrade of Redfern Park and Oval. We created a world-class training facility for South Sydney and a beautiful space for fans and the local community to gather.

That investment is obviously paying off, and I look forward to seeing more success in the years to come.

Congratulations to the players and the coaching staff. The commitment, the dedication, the many hours of training and the sacrifices to attain a moment of glory have all paid off.

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