Souths Look To Carry Momentum From Reshuffle
Senior Rabbitohs players have backed the team reshuffle pulled by coach Michael Maguire last week and are looking to consolidate those new combinations when they take a tough home game against Melbourne to Perth.
Those changes – the return of Aaron Gray on the wing and Robbie Rochow in the pack with Bryson Goodwin and Hymel Hunt in their preferred centre positions, Cody Walker shifting from the halves to fullback, Robbie Farah starting at hooker and John Sutton moving from the pack to five-eighth – worked a treat in a big win over an admittedly below-par Wests Tigers last week.
There is no question the challenge is bigger this week but Sam Burgess and Adam Reynolds reckon the positive signs shown last week will stand them in good stead on Sunday.
"We were happy with the game last week," Burgess said.
"Certainly compared to our previous game [a 48-8 loss to Manly] was a poor result, it was good to turn that around and get some runs on the board. The challenge now is continuing that form.
"We can certainly get better from that Wests Tigers game, we were a bit sloppy with the ball at times. I thought our defence had improved – it's not hard from the week before!"
Burgess tipped a similar team make-up to last week, which benefited from some extra experience in a few key positions.
"I thought it helped our team, John Sutton in the halves helped control a few things and let Adam kick the ball round and Cody at fullback freed him up a little bit," he said.
"I thought it worked well, Aaron Gray was very strong for us in the back five, carried the ball very well. We'll look to be a similar sort of line up and a similar sort of performance.
"John Sutton was fantastic and Robbie was very good with the ball."
Walker has been arguably the team's best player from five-eighth this year and continued that form at fullback last week and Reynolds was happy to reunite with his former halves partner for the good of the team.
It won't take the pair long to gel given their experience together, he added.
"I think we spent about 100 games together so not at all," Reynolds said.
"We often train there, even if he's training in the back row he fills in every now and then. Obviously there's no connection lost there, I'm pretty comfortable with him slotting back in there.
"He's a calm person, on the field he directs the team around a little bit as well and takes a bit of pressure off myself with the organising. It's good having him there and it's a combination we're still working on."
Goodwin for his part was happy to be back in his preferred position.
"I'm happy to play anywhere in the team but obviously I enjoy playing centre as well," Goodwin said.
"Aaron comes back into the team, I thought he performed really well last week after being out for a while. He's looking forward to playing again obviously, he's raring to go."