Rabbits make premiership statement

If South Sydney go on to win their second straight premiership this year, the club will look back at Thursday’s win over North Queensland as a defining moment.

Not since Brisbane in 1992/93 has an NRL club gone back-to-back.

After the Rabbitohs’ 28-8 thumping at the hands of Manly in round 22, they were widely criticised and written off.

Against the Cowboys, though, they showed they could be the real deal.

Coach Michael McGuire played a straight bat in the post-match media conference following the 31-18 win over the high-flying Cowboys.

“The win is one that we will take a lot out of, but aware that we have got a lot of improvement in a number of areas that we need to focus on,” he said.

“We don’t actually listen to any of that (criticism), the things that we do internally are the things that are important to us. That’s what we focus on.”

Inside his coach’s box, though, he was full of unbridled passion and animation.

The match was touted as a mini grand final for Souths and it showed, as McGuire hung on every tackle, every line break and celebrated like they had won a premiership when Dylan Walker streaked away to score the match-winning try.

Now on 30 competition points and with belief back in their hearts, Souths all of a sudden have become a major premiership chance once more.

Captain Greg Inglis, an enormous threat all night and try-scorer after just three minutes, said the players knew the enormity of the task at hand.

“We knew we had to come up here and get a job (done),” he said.

“We’ll take a lot of valuable lessons out of this, there is a couple of areas we need to work on.

“For us, it’s just building as we go along.

“We don’t compare ourselves to last year, it’s a totally new team.”

McGuire said despite recent results leading into the Cowboys match, belief was still high.

“There is a lot of belief amongst us as a team,” he said.

“The players know what they are capable of, it’s just a matter of doing it for 80 minutes – which we produced tonight.

“It’s something that we’ve got to keep producing.”

The club will be sweating on the fitness of forward John Sutton who missed the entire second half with a hamstring strain.

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