South Sydney are primed to go deep into the finals under Wayne Bennett.
September football is usually "Wayne's world" and with the finals scheduled for October this upcoming month of football will be where the Rabbitohs look to continue the momentum gained from five consecutive wins.
Souths play Melbourne on Friday and even if they lose I don’t think that will upset their momentum so long as they play well.
Even if they finish outside the top four I can still see them making a dint in the finals series. Their best football is ahead of them. They are on the way up.
The Rabbitohs have scored 185 points in their past five games. Their free-flowing footy and the confidence they are displaying is very much like a Bennett-coached team when he has eyes-up players in his side, and particularly at this time of year and in finals.
He has got them relaxed and they are enjoying their football.
Rabbitohs v Storm - Round 17
We say they are performing really well, but he’s had a jigsaw puzzle with them as well and had to move a few different pieces into place.
There’s been injuries to James Roberts, Braidon Burns and now Latrell Mitchell but the guys that have come in like young Jaxson Paulo and Steven Marsters have done so well. It shows what a good coach Wayne is.
South Sydney's forwards were maligned at the start of the year but they have proven a real point of late. They are tough and they are skilful as well.
Jaydn Su’A has followed Wayne to the Rabbitohs and I remember there was a lot of talk by good judges when he was at the Broncos that Su’A was the best of the young forwards coming through.
No room at Rabbitohs for Benji
Su’A is vindicating that praise now. He is smart, tough and he has a high work rate.
Patrick Mago is a new player down there at Souths after he couldn’t get a start at the Broncos last year.
Wayne is a real forwards coach and that is where he does his best work.
In the 1990s the Sydney media used to call the Broncos the "popgun pack" and Wayne used to use that to motivate them.
It is a good comparison to Souths today because essentially we had a small pack who were tough – guys like Mark Hohn, Alan Cann, Trevor Gillmeister and Terry Matterson. Even Gavin Allen was more of a stringbean than a hulking forward, but tough.
Wayne will be using the fact that his forwards are criticised every week with them. Apart from Tom Burgess and Cameron Murray they don’t have big names but they have workers like Tevita Tatola, Liam Knight and Mark Nicholls who do the job and you know what you are going to get.
The Magic of Mr Morgan
Tatola has started in all 16 games this year and is a young prop with a huge future. I’ve been really impressed with him.
Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds are thriving on the back of the foundation their forwards have laid. I’ve noticed them combine brilliantly in the last couple of weeks.
Last week against the Eels we saw Reynolds put Walker away with a great ball. It was electric halves play.
Reynolds puts Walker into space
In their own right they are good players but they are playing as a unit. It does remind me a lot of Kevin Walters and Allan Langer in the old Broncos sides.
Bennett puts a lot of faith in his halves and lets them play what is in front of them and Walker and Reynolds play their best when they do that.
The loss of Latrell is unfortunate because he was just coming into his own with his offloads and deft touches. His try assists this year have been his go, as he works into getting his full attacking brilliance as a ball runner.
Wayne says it isn’t all bad for Latrell
The good thing for Souths is they have other strike weapons.
Campbell Graham, wherever he plays, is a danger. Now try scoring machine Alex Johnston and Dane Gagai are back, and they have both been in red-hot form.
Bennett’s assistant coach Jason Demetriou did a great job when the head coach had his little two-week break for his meal at Grappa.
The Rabbitohs won both games and now Wayne is back they have gone to another level again. They have a good rapport – Bennett and his assistant.
Demetriou does a lot of work with the attack and they complement each other and work together for the success of the team.
I understand club legend Sam Burgess has been a positive influence on the team and I see that in the way they are all ripping in, like Sam did each time he played.
He is a good mentor to have around the club.
Match Highlights: Eels v Rabbitohs
I believe Souths can go deep into finals football. I remember in 1992 at Brisbane when we trained in beautiful weather and Wayne just encouraged us to enjoy it and embrace the atmosphere.
We had a massive crowd watching training at the time and that is what we did.
We were successful. I'm sure Souths can be too.