Souths loving the spotlight, says Maguire
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire says his players are embracing the hype surrounding increasing talk of the Rabbitohs breaking a 41-year premiership drought.
The NRL’s second-placed team are chasing six straight wins for the first time since 1994 against Gold Coast at Skilled Park on Sunday as they look to continue their outstanding season.
Souths’ great run has prompted comparisons with champion Rabbitohs teams from the past and talk of a first premiership since 1971.
But rather than being concerned about his troops getting caught up in the hysteria, Maguire is pleased with the way they are handling it.
“I’ve got a really good group of senior boys who have experienced these sorts of things,” said Maguire of Souths’ leadership group which contains Sydney Roosters 2002 premiership winner Michael Crocker.
“I think our players are handling it quite easily. They are really enjoying the fact we’ve got so much great support behind us.
“Each week we turn up to games and the crowds are getting bigger … it’s adding to everything that we’re doing.
“It’s building that momentum into the finals and if we can utilise that in some way then I’m sure we’re in for a good time ahead.”
Rather than adopt a “don’t mention the finals” approach, Maguire is happy for his players to talk about the business end of the season.
“We are a very honest group and we talk about it … we’re aware of what’s in front of us,” he said.
“But we also know that we have to do a job this week to make sure we build that momentum into those finals and play the good footy that we’re capable of.”
Maguire is expecting a tough clash with the Scott Prince-inspired Titans, who are chasing a fourth consecutive win and looking to cement their place in the top eight.
If the Rabbitohs win and Canterbury lose to Newcastle on Saturday, Souths would find themselves equal on points with the Bulldogs, who have a superior points difference, at the top of the NRL ladder with just four games remaining after this round.
The humble Maguire has no doubt the Rabbitohs will be up to the task and praised his side for sticking to systems put in place.
“It’s a credit to the players the way they practice and the practice makes it simple … we are obviously doing a lot of repetition work and when you’re doing that it makes it easier when you are under pressure … you just go back to what you’ve been practising.”© AAP 2013