By Peter Oglos.
Greek-Australian’s Lachlan Ilias and Peter Mamouzelos made themselves known to the NRL community on Saturday in the Rabbitohs’ 20-16 win over the Dragons.
The Rabbitohs rested up to 10 first grade players in preparation for the finals, giving their young guns a chance to shine on the field.
One of the new kids on the block was Lachlan Ilias, who has previously been touted by head coach Wayne Bennet as one of the players of the future for the Souths.
However, the Premiership winning coach admitted, whether truthfully or not, that he’d never actually watched Lachlan Ilias play but he had “heard he was good.”
Well, the Greek-Australian went out there and made sure Bennet was watching, with Ilias putting in a first half masterclass.
The 21-year-old kicked a grubber to set himself up for a try in the sixth minute of the match.
“The kid scores on debut. He puts in a kick, he chased it hard and it got it down,” Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane said.
“What a moment for the Ilias family in the inner west of Sydney, they can’t be here but they’re there in spirit. And a very special moment for Lachlan Ilias.”
Despite finishing the match with only 20 running metres, Ilias was clearly eager get involved in the first thirty minutes.
Former Greek Australian NRL icon Braith Anasta showed clear excitement for the youngster, saying he has a lot to offer the Rabbitohs.
“This is special, it’s a dream come true. Young Lachlan Ilias, on debut, he gets the ball in his hand, he takes control, puts a beautiful little kick down the short side and chases the play. His first try in the big time… it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said on Fox League.
“He’s a great human, he works his butt off and he’s a good player. It’s just good to get his chance. Keep an eye on him he’s got a really good running game, his kicking game is solid and he’s got a great build for a half.”
Despite not directly contributing to any tries, fellow Rabbitohs youngster Peter Mamouzelos also impressed for the Bunnies on the night.
The 20-year-old impressed on the defensive front, making 42 tackles and forcing a few Dragons errors.
Mamouzelos has made seven appearances in the NRL this season, scoring four tries.
Following Bennet’s departure at the conclusion of the 2021 season, Jason Demetriou will take over as head coach of the club’s senior team.
Demetriou has spent two seasons under Bennet as assistant coach. He has represented Greece and Canada on the international stage.