The South Sydney Rabbitohs last met the Penrith Panthers in round three of the 2013 season, overcoming a spirited Panthers side 44-32 at Penrith.

The 76 point try-fest played out in sweltering conditions, was the Rabbitohs’ second close call in two weeks with the Panthers coming within two points of the lead in the last ten minutes.

But late tries to Ben Te’o and Nathan Merritt managed to seal the win for Souths, placing them in equal first position with the Melbourne Storm.

Despite allowing the Panthers back into the contest for the second week running, Coach Michael Maguire was pleased with his team’s effort.

"Under the circumstances of the day with the heat and things like that, they (the Panthers) probably handled it a bit better than us at times.” Maguire said.

"Our execution and our completions of sets put us into a lot of pressure positions but I was glad we fought to the end."

But with a huge game looming against 2012 grand finalists, the Bulldogs, in a Good Friday blockbuster at ANZ Stadium, Maguire conceded that there was plenty to work on as a team if they were to be any chance of beating the Dogs – bolstered by the returning Ben Barba in a game the Rabbitohs went on to win.

"As a group there's plenty for us to work on defensively," he said.

"We'll look through it this week and look at how we can improve our defence."

A man of the match performance from Greg Inglis saw the Rabbitohs fullback score a try, and run for a staggering 195 meters from the back.

Meanwhile, winger Nathan Merritt scored his second hat-trick of the season. At that early stage in the season, Merritt only needed 10 tries to eclipse Benny Wearing’s club record of 144 tries – a record that the Rabbitohs winger could break this Friday night against the Panthers in Penrith.