South Sydney’s defence has regressed to the bad old days but they are adamant there isn’t a lot wrong with their 2016 NRL campaign.
Heading into Monday’s clash with Manly, the Rabbitohs have conceded 20-plus points in their last 11 straight matches.
It is a stark reminder of how far Michael Maguire’s side have fallen since their 2014 premiership win.
The last time they let in 20 or more points in 12 straight games was in 2006, when they earned the wooden spoon. They also did the same in 2004, when they also finished last, according to Fox Sports Stats.
And while owner Russell Crowe and Maguire have won deserved praise for lifting the club from the doldrums of last decade, it illustrates how they have been let down by simple defensive lapses and a failure to complete the fundamentals this year.
A look at their statistics reveals their completion rate is 76 per cent – the fifth worst in the comp.
However dig a little deeper and you see that they average the second worst completion rate coming out of their own half – averaging 3.2 incomplete sets inside their own 50 per game.
Sutton says while it’s worrying, he insists they can start firing again if they get it right.
“That’s the game – completing your sets,” Sutton said.
“When you don’t control the ball it does put pressure on your defence so we’ve just got to make sure we complete this week.”
The Rabbitohs’ position in 13th doesn’t do justice to the strength of their roster.
Set to miss the finals for the first time in Maguire’s five seasons at the club, Sutton admits his pride has taken a hit.
“It hurts where we’re sitting but we’ve just got to keep training hard and make sure we have a big performance,” Sutton said.