Head Coach Michael Maguire gives his insights heading into his sides Round 3 clash with the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
After registering their first victory in 2017, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will travel north to take on the Newcastle Knights, who themselves opened their account with a win against the Gold Coast Titans in Round 2 of the Telstra Premiership.
Despite a solid showing against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Michael Maguire is under no illusions that his side will have a simple task when they take on a reinvigorated Newcastle outfit, acknowledging that his side has plenty to work on before they reach their full potential.
“We’re well and truly aware of where we sit at the moment,” said the South Sydney mentor.
“There’s a lot that we are looking at in our game, our start and in the previous week there was a lot in our game that we needed to have a look at.
“So we’ve been doing that and we’ve been very thorough around our training and I’ve got a pretty focused group, they’re not getting ahead of where we’re at, we’ve got to continually build the combinations that the boys have been doing throughout the pre-season.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re bringing a lot of energy this week because Newcastle is definitely a team that has shown that over the last two rounds.”
Securing their first victory in 335 days, the Knights have looked a far cry from the side that received the wooden soon in 2016.
Having posted a combined total of 56 points in the opening two rounds of the season, Maguire is aware of the threat that the Novocastrians pose in attack and has highlighted his sides defence as an area of focus.
“The defence wasn’t up to scratch of where we want to be and we’re working hard at that at training and that’s something that we worked a lot on throughout the pre-season.
“There were a few areas there that we need to make sure that we’re really sharp at because we’ve got a team that’s going to be throwing a lot at us this week.
“They (Newcastle) actually throw a lot of shapes at you when you’re defending, so we need to make sure that we control that.
“They’ve got a lot of big boys up the middle and they actually shift the ball side to side, so defensively we’ve got to make sure we’re really strong through the middle and obviously when they go to the edges, the decision making needs to be spot on.”
The encounter between the two sides will be heightened by the occasion of Robbie Farah’s 250th game – something Maguire touched upon.
“Milestones are very special and they’re very special for everyone involved, so to reach 250 (games) it’s a real credit to Robbie.
“He’s looking forward to playing and we want to make sure it’s a really strong performance from us as a Club and give him that great feeling of obviously playing that 250th.”