Souths ready for Barba threat

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    South Sydney coach Michael Maguire is resigned to Canterbury superstar Ben Barba having an impact on Saturday’s NRL preliminary final, but isn’t making any special plans to stop him.

    Barba has flourished this season under Des Hasler, who’s turned him from an exciting but defensively suspect fullback into the league’s player of the year.

    The 2012 campaign has been littered with Barba highlights and his performances helped the Bulldogs claim a first minor premiership since 1994 – earning him the Dally M Medal in the process.

    Barba scored a try in Canterbury’s 23-18 win over Souths when the sides last met in round 13, but was largely subdued when the Rabbitohs prevailed 20-10 in the side’s first meeting in April.

    And Maguire is aware of what’s required from his team to keep the 23-year-old in check and reach a first grand final in 41 years.

    “He’s going to come into the game at some stage,” Maguire said.

    “You’ve just got to make sure you’re working together to nullify what he throws at you.

    “If you kick the ball down to him on the full, he’s going to bring it back with speed and he’s going to have support there.

    “Everyone knows what the players are capable of doing and it’s a matter of making sure that you’re concentrating on those periods.”

    Souths recovered well from the lesson handed to them by a red-hot Melbourne in the opening round of the finals to comfortably beat Canberra last week.

    The victory co-coincided with Maguire’s decision to restore bad-boy hooker Issac Luke to the starting line-up.

    A three-match suspension for a dangerous tackle on Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall in round 19 was followed by a week-long spell in reserve grade for the Kiwi rake after he broke a team curfew.

    But he was back to his best in the 38-16 win over the Raiders with Nathan Peats dropping back to the bench to accommodate Luke and Maguire was delighted with his response.

    “Issac came in and did his job really well for the team,” he said.

    “I was really impressed. He understood what we’re creating here and he’s a part of a culture that we’re building here.

    “He bounced back and he’s performed the way he should.”

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • Roar Rookie

      September 22nd 2012 @ 6:53am
      Damn Straight said | September 22nd 2012 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      That’s where the bulldogs will win…too much focus on Barba will take souths eyes off the other classy bulldogs ball players and suck in defenders left right and centre. The bulldogs tryline defence will put them in good stead. The bulldogs v storm clash will be an arm wrestle of epic proportions…can’t wait.

      • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:26pm
        Smile said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        I’m predicting Souths will come out and give it to them in the first 20. The Bulldogs willl dominate the last 20.

        I also expect the same in the second half.

        Whoever can post more points during the dominance will come out the victors. Souths have more brilliance – the BUlldogs more consistency.

        It will be close – Souths by 2 – Reynolds goal kicking the difference.

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:35pm
      RebelRanger said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:35pm | ! Report

      Wonder what Des will do with Tony Williams.

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