Alex Johnston celebrates in front of jubilant South Sydney fans during their win over Manly on Friday night.

Maguire unimpressed by late wilt

Coach Michael Maguire believes there is still room for South Sydney to improve despite their dominant 40-24 victory over the Sea Eagles.

With a clinical Adam Reynolds leading the way Souths raced to a 40-point advantage before surrendering the final 24 points. 

With the game heading towards a scoreboard margin not seen in the finals since the 2008 Grand Final, Maguire later stressed the importance of playing the entirety of a finals footy fixture.

"For 65 minutes we were very clinical, I thought our final 15 minutes is something we need to look at though," Maguire told reporters after the game. 

"I mean to do that at this time of the year, we need to be aware that every game is an 80-minute game so it [the finish] probably doesn't cut it from our standard and the way we play.
 
"Though for 65 minutes I was pleased with how hard we worked together and the way we achieved the things that we set out too."

With captain John Sutton ramming home the consequences of their second half dip, huddling his teammates in after the siren, the now back-rower recognised the unacceptability of the closing stages.
   
"Manly are a very good team and they'll come at you for the full 80 minutes," Sutton said.
 
"They played a bit of footy and scored a couple of tries so we weren't happy with that. We just need to make sure we fix that for the next game."

Above all though, Maguire was not surprised by the performance of his team.

The coach, heading towards his third consecutive preliminary final, referring to how proud he was of his troops, with the the way they "worked together and achieved the things" they set out to do.

"I would probably say we were very thorough in our preparation this week which allowed us to gain control of the game," Maguire said.

"We were very disappointed in our performance from the prior week and we knew we had to come out, because we were coming up against a very good team in Manly. 

"They have been in this arena for a long time and they have a lot of great players in that team so we had to do all the little things really well to control the game which we did in the first half."

As for being rewarded with the weekend off? Maguire was adamant that it won't be a week for the faint-hearted.
"We'll still be doing plenty of training, training hard – freshen the minds up," Maguire said.
 
"I have a group that are very understanding of what we need to do each week and that's our focus now – getting a good solid week of training – that's what the week off allows us to do."