Culture change has Rabbitohs firing
South Sydney rookie Adam Reynolds credited coach Michael Maguire for the culture change being undertaken by the Rabbitohs after they disposed of Penrith 38-12 to edge closer to the NRL top four.
Taking on a Panthers side devoid of Origin stars Luke Lewis, Michael Jennings and Tim Grant – the Bunnies did what they were expected to do on the back of a powerhouse performance from dumped Queensland back-rower David Taylor.
But meeting expectations hasn’t always been a strong suit for the Bunnies, Reynolds noting the change in mentality out Redfern way.
“The culture of the club’s changing and that’s through Madge (Maguire),” Reynolds said.
“He’s been really big on our defence this year and our structure.
“We’re getting better slowly every week.”
There’s every chance the Rabbitohs of old would have caved in when after leading 12-0 early via tries to Taylor and Nathan Merritt, they fell asleep as the Panthers got level before the halftime break as Clint Newton and then Lachlan Coote scored in quick succession.
But there was no panic from Souths, four tries over the closing 23 minutes as Nathan Peats joined Merritt in bagging a double in the runaway win.
“We basically had a clean sheet when I first got here and we’ve worked hard from there,” Maguire said.
“They’ve bought into everything that we’re doing and they’re really, really hungry as a group.
“If we keep doing that week to week hopefully we’ll get the opportunities when the business end comes around.”
That business end is now within reach, the Bunnies one of four teams from fourth through to sixth on 22 competition points.
It is generally thought 28 points is enough to secure a top eight finish, but Souths may be aiming higher given their friendly run home, with just three of their remaining nine games against sides currently in the top eight.
Not that the Rabbitohs are getting carried away just yet.
“We’re still in a position where the competition’s so close that we’re only one loss away from slipping back down to eighth or ninth spot,” skipper Michael Crocker said.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary lamented yet another injury in the halves, with Blake Austin dislocating his shoulder after half an hour, but admitted the Rabbitohs just had too much talent on the park.
“I couldn’t fault the boys with the effort they put in, in the end probably just out-classed,” Cleary said.
“It will certainly be nice to get some troops back, probably six or seven guys to come back hopefully after the bye.”© AAP 2013
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