Souths’ lame forwards are the reason the club is going backwards

Tim Prentice Columnist

By Tim Prentice, Tim Prentice is a Roar Expert

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    I expected to see something really special from the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Townsville last night but all I saw was – well there’s no other way to say it – crap.

    The premiers of 2014 were absolutely creamed by the premiers of 2015 and it seems a sure thing that it’s going to get a lot worse from here.

    North Queensland won 44-18 in pretty much a jog-trot. They were never seriously threatened by a soft South Sydney pack that looked like Tarzan but played like Jane.

    ‘Soft’ is a word I have never used when thinking of a red and green forward pack.

    But that’s what they were against the Dylan Napa-fuelled Sydney City Roosters last week and I honestly thought they’d be breathing fire and brimstone up in the north to blow away those horrendous memories.

    No, there was zero starch from the engine room at 1300 Smiles Stadium, where the only Smiles were seen on the face of Cowboys fans. We saw a red and green engine with way too many Burgii, who seem to be picked on reputation alone.

    Chris Grevsmuhl looked like a guy prepared to have a red-hot go but he and returning halfback Adam Reynolds were on their Pat Malone. They had to send out a search party for even a skerrick of support.

    It never came.

    By their lofty standards, the Cowboys didn’t play particularly well but they still cruised home by 26, helping themselves to some ridiculously soft tries. It was another day at the office for Paul Green’s men and all of them had their footy boots up on the desk.

    Souths have problems. Massive problems.

    Seven rounds in, their forwards are feared by nobody. Their backs are almost as impotent as those pointless frauds trotted out by St George-Illawarra every week.

    Feel free to roar at me. Suggest I am wrong on either count.

    This Rabbitoh team is lame. It’s going nowhere fast. And it’s sad to see.

    There are handling errors and penalties aplenty; there is next to no spontaneity or imagination in attack and I cannot see big improvements any time soon.

    It’s all too easy to look at coach Madge Maguire and say he is not motivating his squad but think back a couple of seasons. The bulk of this team was on the field when the Rabbits won the comp. He hasn’t lost his mojo – his team certainly has.

    During last night’s debacle, I’m pretty sure you asked: what’s going wrong with the cardinal-and-myrtle men?

    In my opinion, the return of 2014 superstar Sam Burgess is one major factor.

    I feel it triggered a club-wide mindset that “Slammin’ Sammy’s back, we’ll be OK now.” The big Pom is going alright in his return from rugby union, but really, ‘alright’ is not nearly good enough, especially for a player of his undoubted quality and massive pay packet.

    His brothers Tom and George are seriously error-prone and should not be considered for the big stuff until they tidy things up and play like hungry, top grade footballers.

    I’ve said it now. That’s the key word. Hungry.

    South Sydney are not.

    Just two years ago, there was a 42-year-old drought this famous and proud old club was desperate to break.

    Players from fullback through to the front row were fiercely committed to do just that. Hell, even Sammy B played for 79 minutes with a busted face.

    But now that the trophy has been won, the desire looks to have dissipated. Teams in all sports need to be hungry.

    Take a look at Leicester in the English Premier League soccer.

    These battlers are hungry for success and I don’t think they’ll stop until the spoils of victory come their way. Every minute in every game, the Foxes are hunting with an insatiable hunger. Who is brave enough to say they won’t complete their fairytale?

    South Sydney, in my opinion, are in a deep hole and won’t be climbing out very soon.

    By his own standards, superstar fullback Greg Inglis has been ineffectual this season and very few of his backline cohorts have made breaks or troubled the scorer.

    I believe it comes right back to the forwards. The once-feared South Sydney pack is coming across as cute and cuddly as the Easter Bunny.

    Things will not change until someone – including Sammy B – really fires up and makes a positive statement about the club’s intent for 2016.

    For a team of Crowes, they are performing like a flock of harmless sparrows.

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    The Crowd Says (62)

    • April 16th 2016 @ 5:56am
      Mike from tari said | April 16th 2016 @ 5:56am | ! Report

      Lazy markers, that was the same last season & hasn’t changed, the twins should be in there ripping & tearing, unfortunately they are hugging & cuddling, static defence is giving opposition room to move, dropped ball & penalties put them on the back foot, I don’t think I have left anything out.

    • April 16th 2016 @ 6:27am
      pjm said | April 16th 2016 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      Inglis is a big problem. He’s the laziest player on the field and when you’re the captain that’s inexcusable.

      • April 16th 2016 @ 7:48am
        turbodewd said | April 16th 2016 @ 7:48am | ! Report

        I agree. His defence last night…he just didnt care.

      • April 16th 2016 @ 10:55am
        Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | April 16th 2016 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        Couldn’t agree more about Inglis. Not sure what is happening there. His attitude is awful. What happened to the beast that tore opposition defences to shreds? He’s not the same player he was a few seasons ago. Either his poor attitude is affecting the rest of the team or is symptomatic of a collective couldn’t give a rats ……

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2016 @ 11:07am
          eagleJack said | April 16th 2016 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          GI has been poor for a while. The high of the 2014 GF win a distant memory for him.

          He is playing frustrated this year. There was no better example of that than at the SCG against the Dragons. He was abusing teammates, appeared to have a go at the training staff. His runs were half-hearted. And then the field goal (reported as a brain snap) was the biggest “F you” to the South players I have ever seen. He wanted the game to end, and he couldn’t careless about the win. He was done.

          And his form has gone backwards further since then. I hope he is fit for Origin. As he will be an absolute passenger.

          • April 16th 2016 @ 10:44pm
            Talent said | April 16th 2016 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

            I agree about all except origin. To annoy Souths fans more, he will put on the Maroon and will suddenly care and have a huge series.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 16th 2016 @ 1:01pm
        steveng said | April 16th 2016 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        Agree ‘pjm’ Inglis should be in the centres so that it puts an end to his ‘bludge fest’ out at fullback.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2016 @ 9:02pm
        Kaks said | April 16th 2016 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

        He hasnt been the same ever since that knee injury

    • April 16th 2016 @ 6:44am
      KingCowboy said | April 16th 2016 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      Tim I disagree. I personally think there are three really good sides in the cows, donkeys n sharks. Eels would be in that group but for the pain that is about too hit them with the salary cap penalty. Everyone else is pretty even but still to early in season to say anyone can’t win the whole thing. When the cows complete their sets like last night, they are going to be very hard to beat.

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2016 @ 7:01am
      The Barry said | April 16th 2016 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      It was pathetic.

      The attitude of “Sam is back, we’ll be right” is most prevalent in his brothers who are playing like powder puffs. I used the looks like Tarzan plays like Jane line in the live blog describing Gurgess.

      You would have thought that after getting schooled and physically dominated by Napa last week that some form of professional or personal pride would kick in.

      I don’t think Surgess is quite right after his neck scare. Not sure if it’s physical or mental but he’s playing below his normal high standard and he’s definitely not hurling himself into attack or defence like he normally does.

      As for Inglis, you wouldn’t even know he was playing. His knee is stuffed, every time he gets tackled he looks in agony…but more importantly he’s playing like he doesn’t want to get tackled. He needs some serious time out to get it sorted if he can. He was red hot in round one but a passenger since.

      I thought Grevsmuhl, Reynolds, Keary, Gray and most of all Goodwin had a go, but the others were MIA.

      Maybe the rumours that the players are sick of Roadkill are true. If he couldn’t get them to lift for an Esats v Souths derby and then off the back of that against the defending premiers what hope has he got.

      • April 16th 2016 @ 9:59am
        Dean - Surry Hills said | April 16th 2016 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Summed up perfectly Baz.

        The best thing The Bunnies have had going for them this year has been Cody Walker. He’s a danger whenever he touches the ball and is as tough as teak in defence. Not sure if he could play at fullback whilst Inglis makes a full recovery, but he needs to be somewhere in their squad.

    • April 16th 2016 @ 7:15am
      MAX said | April 16th 2016 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      Tim,your piece should be compulsory reading for all at Redfern. You did not miss anyone.

      For mine, Crowepacker Castle now lays in ruin. The Knights of the Realm, Sirs Sam, George,
      Tom and Greg were ‘napalmed’ at Allianz and slaughtered at Smiles. Desire, dead and gone
      forever. The knights absorb almost half of the salary cap yet leave it to the grossly underpaid
      serfs to battle valiantly against the might of the most determined army in League. I am in awe.

      What Rupert tried to do , Dylan accomplished in 80 minutes. Sadly for Easts , I doubt if we will
      ever see a repeat of that superhuman performance. Souths are in the 2nd yr of a 43 cycle.
      My Canterbury heart feels just a smidgen of sorrow. Commercially the write down is Amazonian.

      • April 16th 2016 @ 11:34am
        bigbaz said | April 16th 2016 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        enjoyed that

      • April 16th 2016 @ 3:48pm
        GB said | April 16th 2016 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        “2nd year of 43 year cycle”

        Full marks. Got any more?

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2016 @ 7:49am
      Con Scortis said | April 16th 2016 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      I agree TIm but I would argue that Souths lost they’re mojo from Round 21 last season, ironically the round they last went up to Townsville and beat the Cowboys 31-18 in what was considered an upset.

      The stories at the time we that even after winning unexpectedly and despite having a tough run leading into the finals of Bulldogs, Broncos and Roosters, Madge spent the following week absolutely smashing the s…t out of the players at training. it was at that point that rumours escalated that Madge had lost the playing group and I recall hearing commentators like Sterlo questioning his approach.

      We were subsequently beaten 32-18 against the dogs, embarrassed 47-12 against the Broncos (where Milford ran riot) and pummelled 30-0 against the Roosters, finally getting smashed by the the Sharks in the first finals match.

      So I think all the talk about Sam coming back to save the team was just media noise. I actually don’t think the players were thinking this way.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 16th 2016 @ 1:13pm
        steveng said | April 16th 2016 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        They lost their mojo from round 4 last year (in that disastrous 1 point win against the Bulldogs and the bottle throwing and the Graham incident) and NOT from as you say ‘Souths lost they’re mojo from Round 21 last season’ and they haven’t got it back either in 2015 and/or 2016!!!

      • April 16th 2016 @ 1:27pm
        Muzz said | April 16th 2016 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

        • Roar Rookie

          April 16th 2016 @ 6:00pm
          steveng said | April 16th 2016 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

          Yeah, I know that and they should have got him (the Knights that is lol) but as far as I’m concerned they never had and/or got their mojo since that round 4 disaster against the Dogs (when Reynolds got injured) and they continued that all throughout last year, this year its just a continuation of what was evolving all throughout last year and for that I blame Madge Maguire for not including Cody Walker in the side while Reynolds was injured and not shuffling, adding and experimenting with different players, combinations and/or plays. That is why the Rabbitohs are like they are, they haven’t developed like the rest of the top sides have since their grand final win. A perfect example of this is the Cowboys and the Broncos they have just continued on from 2015 and have become even more potent.

          • April 16th 2016 @ 7:39pm
            Wascally Wabbit said | April 16th 2016 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

            Steveng
            We haven’t evolved and it looks like Maguire can’t see past Plan A and implement a Plan B.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 17th 2016 @ 5:12pm
              steveng said | April 17th 2016 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

              Madge Maguire hasn’t got a ‘Plan B’ and never ever had one. In the post match interview he was talking like nothing just happened and going on with his usual ‘the boys are in good spirit they want to win’ blah blah balh, blah…amazing

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