South Sydney’s incredible record under Michael Maguire will end at Allianz Stadium on Monday if the Rabbitohs finals’ hopes this season die with a loss to Manly.
It would be ironic if Souths’ run under Maguire, which includes two preliminary finals, a premiership an an elimination final in his four years in charge, ends at a ground that brought such anguish to the proud club throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Souths were perennial easy-beats when they called Allianz Stadium home, and some of those memories would have come back for Rabbitohs fans this year as the club has slumped to six losses in a row.
Key to those losses has been the poor form of Sam Burgess, who has made 21 errors this year, the most of any forward this season.
Five-eighth Luke Keary is also struggling, failing to produce a try assist in his last four games.
Maguire has come under fire with continued reports his players are unhappy under his tutelage.
That forced Souths head of football Shane Richardson to publicly back Maguire this week.
It’s a move that has buoyed Maguire ahead of the must-win clash with the Sea Eagles, who need to win six of their last seven to make the finals.
“I didn’t know that was going to happen, but it is great that I have that support here,” Maguire said.
“I am very comfortable with where we are at as an organisation.
“We are a fairly strong force here.”
Defence has also been an issue for the Rabbitohs. They were beaten 30-10 by Brisbane last week and 20-0 by North Queensland the week before.
“It’s an area we need to get better at,” Maguire said.
“That part of our game we have worked hard on but we let in a few easy tries last week.”
“I know I have a very capable squad here and we will be strong on Monday.”
Souths halfback Adam Reynolds has been named to make his return from a shoulder injury, likewise Bryson Goodwin who has been sidelined with a broken arm.
Greg Inglis remains suspended for Souths, who play one home game a year at SCG Trust venues.
Nate Myles returns for Manly, who need to win six of their last seven games to make the finals, after struggling with a knee injury.
* This will be the Rabbitohs first Monday Night Football match for the season. They have won just two of their past five MNF matches
* Manly will make their sixth appearance on MNF this season, having won two of its previous five, however both of those wins came at Brookvale oval.
* The Rabbitohs current six-match losing streak is their worst since losing nine straight in 2007-08.
* The Rabbitohs have averaged just 1372 run metres per game this season, less than every team except Newcastle (1290).
Source: Fox Sports Stats