‘Chinese whispers’ is a game usually played by children. A game that involves delivering a message to one individual and continued on to the next – the message travelling down the line until it reaches the last participant who proclaims the message out loud for those willing to listen.
Usually the final result of the original message is wrong. Distorted. Everyone has a great laugh about it and the game starts again.
However, in the case of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the rumours surrounding an apparent rift between certain players, no-one is laughing.
Fullback Greg Inglis, a member of the tight-knit Rabbitohs camp for the past three years, is forthright about the rumours of a rift, labelling them "a load of crap".
“We’ve become a lot tighter then what we ever had been. Don’t believe everything you read around the media circles. I think [rumours] have brought us a lot tighter than ever before,” Inglis said.
“[It’s a] happy camp... hasn’t been happy for the last two weeks with the losses, but hopefully we can turn that around.”
While Inglis went on the front foot to quash the rift rumours, he admits that the Bunnies' recent form hasn’t been great over the past fortnight, especially against the Wests Tigers last Friday night.
“I think as a team we haven’t had the best results in the last two weeks and we performed well under what we are capable of. As a team we got to turn that around this week,” Inglis said.
“The bottom line is [the Tigers] did bash our forwards and they just outplayed us throughout the whole game. There’s no putting an umbrella over it – it’s just what happened.
"In the end, we had a good hard look at how we want to play this week and how we want to go out and redeem ourselves. As a team we've got to go out there and return serve on what we dished up last week.
“We have to stick together as a group and as a team and go on and play the 80 minutes.”
Their dip in form has been compounded by the loss of dynamic dummy-half runner Issac Luke for anywhere up to 10 weeks; however, they are boosted by the returns of Chris McQueen and Dylan Walker heading into this weekend.
In further good news, Inglis has declared himself 100 per cent ready to go following a head knock suffered last weekend, while George Burgess will take his place against the Raiders at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon after managing to get his charge downgraded and avoiding suspension at the judiciary on Wednesday night.
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“[The Raiders] always have [been under the radar] and with Jack Wighton there at five-eighth – he’s going to get better and better each and every week," Inglis said.
"They've got big forwards as well so it’s going to be a big tough match. In the end, we’ve just got to be on song for the whole 80 minutes.
“Having [George Burgess] available is a big plus for us and hopefully there’s no shenanigans on the weekend so we don’t have to go back to the judiciary.”
While the Rabbitohs will have to bounce back fast if they’re going to be competitive against the Raiders, winger Lote Tuqiri believes their forwards' battle against the Tigers made them realise they needed to step up every week.
“I don’t think [we underestimated the Tigers' forwards]. I think the fans probably did so more so than us. I think we’ve got to respect everyone we play against and I think they just aimed up,” Tuqiri said.
“We are being touted as one of the [better] forwards packs to come up against… and I think everyone’s doing that every week against us. There’s no easy game in the NRL.
“We just didn’t give ourselves a chance last week to put any pressure on them; we just kept giving it away or kicking the ball out on the foul or not finding touch on the penalties.”
With the Rabbitohs involved in several mishaps and disagreements between their opponents last weekend, Tuqiri insists that it is all a part of the game.
“Everyone was carrying on [last week]. It was just one of those games. There was a bit of talk, a bit of spite but that’s what rugby league is all about isn’t it? I say bring it on,” Tuqiri said.