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Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire is preparing his side to take on a Penrith outfit that he describes as being on the up when they meet this Friday night at the foot of the mountains.

The Panthers come into Round 17 having defeated the Wests Tigers in Round 16 in a commanding performance by 35-12 at Leichardt Oval.

“They’re a quality team Penrith – they’ve been performing,” said Maguire.

“They’re getting a number of players back and starting to show the form from last year and earlier on in the season so we’ve got to make sure that we’re well and truly switched on.”

The Rabbitohs mentor has welcomed back a number of senior players in recent weeks following injuries in what has been a re-bolstering of stocks.

“I think from probably two weeks prior, we had quite a number of our senior players not there,” said Maguire.

“To be able to get a lot of those players back in now – Issac Luke, Timmy Grant, Glenn Stewart, those more senior players – it’s good to have them as part of the team so we’re obviously looking forward to Friday’s game.

Among the most recent returning players was Stewart, whose late inclusion in Round 16 helped the Rabbitohs to victory. When asked what Stewart brought to the team, Maguire’s praise was wide.

“A lot of that seniority around how you play the game,” said Maguire.

“The things that he brings is; one a ball playing ability but also the ability to take the line on and challenge that.

“But I think defensively too he brings a lot of stability around that right edge so having him back is a great thing for us.”


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