BREAKING: Demetriou given marching orders at Souths after fractured board eventually decides his time is up


Jason Demetriou has been punted as South Sydney coach after the board eventually decided his time was up.

The Rabbitohs board met for more than three hours at their Maroubra headquarters on Tuesday morning to address the future of their third-year coach who has led the last-placed Souths to only one win from seven games this season.

They then deferred any public announcements until after holding another meeting at 5pm so chairman Nick Pappas could be looped in from London for a second meeting.

He has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.

Assistant Ben Hornby is set to fill in on an interim capacity with David Furner, who was only added to the coaching staff a couple of weeks ago, to help out the former St George Illawarra skipper.

Earlier in the day, Demetriou said it is “not easy” to be the subject of ongoing scrutiny after South Sydney had deferred making a call on his future at the club.

Demetriou presided over training on Tuesday morning as the board mulled their options, and faced a media scrum as he left Heffron Park just after lunchtime – for the last time as coach.

“It’s not easy but it is what it is,” Demetriou said of the pressure.

“It’s a big club, we’re not performing, so questions have to be asked. I understand that, I respect it.”

It is far from ideal preparation for the last-placed team as they prepare for Thursday’s clash against premiers Penrith.

“I’m prepping for tomorrow’s training,” Demetriou said. “I want to get on with coaching the footy team, that’s what I’m paid to do.”

Considered a head coach in waiting, Hornby dodged reporters by leaving Heffron Park through a side exit shortly before Demetriou departed through the front door.

The Rabbitohs’ slow start to the year has come after they capitulated from finals contention last season by losing seven of their last 10 games.

Club legend and assistant coach Sam Burgess quit amid the downturn, dogged by claims he disagreed with what was described as preferential treatment given to star players by Demetriou.

This year, Demetriou survived swirling rumours about his job security prior to the club’s round-seven bye, guiding the Rabbitohs to a spirited 34-22 loss to high-flying Cronulla in the face of three mid-game injuries.

Jason Demetriou. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

But similar composure eluded Souths in round eight as they were thrashed 54-20 by Melbourne on Anzac Day.

Demetriou was pictured embracing several players at training on Tuesday as the pressure continued to mount. “The boys have been outstanding, that’s never been an issue,” Demetriou said.

“They’re tight, it’s a tight group. They’re battling with injuries at the moment, half a squad missing, and they keep turning up. They’ll turn up Thursday night as well.”

South Sydney have been heavily linked with Wayne Bennett, Demetriou’s former mentor at the Rabbitohs, who is due to leave the Dolphins at the end of the season.

Bennett, who led South Sydney to the 2021 grand final, has been coy when quizzed about his coaching future beyond this year.

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