By Martin Vedris
SYDNEY: De’Longhi’s new sponsorship of the South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league team seems to have turned around the fortunes of the beleaguered team which was last on the ladder until De’Longhi became the team’s away jersey sponsor for round 13, 6 June.
The Rabbitohs first win with the De’Longhi branding came at the hands of the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on round 13. The next game the Rabbitohs backed up with a one point win against the highly fancied Gold Coast Titans.
Then on the weekend just passed the Rabbitohs’ third win on the trot came against the Townsville Cowboys, which the Rabbitohs again won by a thrilling one point margin against the home side, 29 to 28 points.
On top of this, the Rabbitohs had a bye on round 14, so they have won the maximum eight points in four rounds, placing them 14th on the season ladder, with two teams below them.
So confident of the Rabbitohs’ form ahead of this week’s match against the Cowboys was De’Longhi’s general manager, Tom Mitchell, that he took out a full page advertisement in the upcoming issue of Rugby League Week newspaper, congratulating the team on its spectacularly successful past four rounds.
“It is great to se the side show grit and determination on the footy field and getting those hard-earned competition points, but the real value De’Longhi sees in its sponsorship package goes much deeper,” said Mitchell, referring to the club’s Souths Cares community program that provides programs to help disadvantaged youth
De’Longhi Australia CEO, Paolo Albertoni and his wife Elena, attended the recent Souths Cares Charity Ball.
With Rabbitohs injured star Craig Wing making his comeback, the win against the Cowboys goes down in history as the second biggest comeback victory in NRL history (ironically the Cowboys hold the record for the biggest comeback when they beat Penrith 36 points to 28 in 1998, after being down 26 to nil at half-time).
Against the Cowboys, the Rabbitohs were down on just four points to the Cowboy’s 28 points at the 49th minute but four tries later, the Rabbitohs had clawed their way to a tie on 28 points by the 75th minute. Then rookie player Chris Sandow kicked a fairytale field goal in the final minute to win the game by one point.
“To us as De’Longhi, it is vital that one develops a winning culture and Souths are clearly doing this,” said Mitchell. “Whether one wins or loses is not the yardstick, although we are enjoying the first month of our relationship.”