South Sydney may sit just outside the NRL’s top four, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of Redfern who rates them as a genuine premiership contender.
South Sydney’s 10-1 record to start the year is their best since when they claimed the minor premiership in 1989.
South Sydney may be off to their best start in 30 years, but it’s how they’ve done it that supercoach Wayne Bennett is impressed with the most.
The Rabbitohs made it seven wins on the trot after comfortably dispatching of the Wests Tigers 32-16 even despite a leg injury to Adam Reynolds on Saturday.
The victory lifted the ladder leaders to a 10-1 record to start the year, matching their opening to the 1989 season when they finished with the minor premiership.
“I don’t know about the 30-year bit, I’m obviously pleased with what we’re doing and pleased with the way we’re going about it,” Bennett said.
The Rabbitohs kept the Tigers at arm’s length for most of the night despite being without Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Braidon Burns and Kyle Turner.
Their current injury concerns meant they were only able to name 20 players last Tuesday – one short of the requirement to enter a squad of 21.
That challenge will get even tougher for next week’s clash with Parrramatta, where up to another six players will be absent, including the injured Reynolds.
Dane Gagai and Damien Cook are considered State of Origin certainties, while Cody Walker, Cameron Murray and Campbell Graham could join them.
“We’ve just got to keep digging deeper and find another player,” Bennett said.
“Whoever we’ve given the opportunity to, they come up and are getting the job done. It’s pretty much how our season’s been
“It’s one of the things I’m most pleased with.”
Asked if he was surprised by the resiliency shown by the Rabbitohs despite of the amount of players unavailable, Bennett said: “I don’t know if I’m surprised.
“You coach to have your team playing well. You coach to have your team being resilient and coach to have your team playing for each other.
“I’m not surprised. It’s what we tried to do as coaches. So I’m pleased.”