Free of the injury curse that has plagued them for much of the NRL season, South Sydney believe they are finally set to find their groove in 2015 in their quest for back-to-back premierships.
The Rabbitohs started the season well but have struggled to recapture that form – yet still sit in equal fourth heading into Saturday’s round 19 clash with St George IlIawarra at the SCG.
Adam Reynolds, John Sutton and Glenn Stewart are among those Rabbitohs to have spent extended periods on the sideline this season.
But with Kyle Turner set for a return from a spinal injury suffered in the pre-season All Stars clash Souths coach Michael Maguire has virtually a full complement of players to chose from with eight rounds to play.
Kirisome Auva’a remains suspended from the NRL due to his domestic violence conviction last year.
Stewart has played precious little football over his past two seasons with Manly and the Rabbitohs, and said he is raring to go after Souths enjoyed the bye last weekend.
“The byes have come at a good time for us,” he said.
“We are looking forward to getting Greg Inglis back (from State of Origin) too and having him for the back end of the year,
“I was frustrated more than anything. The injury I had was just time-consuming with the ligament in the thumb (slow to heal).
“But the whole time I was able to do a lot more rehab on the leg injuries I have had the last couple of years and I feel better for that.
“Physically I feel fresh and mentally the time off has been great.
“There is a lot of self belief here and we are confident in the squad we do have.”
Back-rower Chris McQueen said the Rabbitohs were on the way to recapturing their 2014 form.
“It has been disappointing for us that we haven’t been able to find a groove whilst players have been away, but we have all our players back now and we will use that as an opportunity to get on a run towards the end of the year,” McQueen said.
“I wouldn’t say we peaked early but I think you can get caught in the trap of maybe thinking that you are going better than you are or maybe going away from the hard work that got you to where you were.
“That’s sort of what happened to us.”