South Sydney’s sole finals focus
There aren't many guarantees in life.
Sure, the sky is usually blue and grass is green. Death, taxes, et cetera.
But if you believe the hype, Michael Maguire may have found another guarantee, with the third year-coach ensuring once again that South Sydney are focused on nothing but themselves.
Speaking alongside the other three remaining coaches at the inaugural Coaches Call on Monday, Maguire insisted nothing has changed for his team as they shape up to face reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters on Friday, despite being rewarded a week off for their bruising 40-24 win over the Sea Eagles.
"For us it is very much about focusing on the stuff we have been doing. Nothing's changed," Maguire told the media.
"This week now really gives us the opportunity to prepare and look forward to what's in front us. We're well-aware about the challenge ahead and we're playing against a very, very good team."
It has been 43 long years since the Rabbitohs featured in a grand final, let alone won one, a time even before the head coach was born.
The expectation of the famed ‘Burrow’ is huge, almost palpable, especially considering Souths’ past two preliminary final defeats.
Expectation for Maguire though is background noise and he is quick to put it back on the three teams still alive in the competition.
If all else fails, history is in the past.
"I think every team feels expectation when you're playing in this arena, so it's no different to the other four [teams]," Maguire said.
"Every team has some sort of history in it. But the history is done. We're in the present now of doing the things that we can control and we've been training well.
"For us, our expectation is to work really hard for each other and play to the potential we can."
While the expectation of the Rabbitohs' fans will be hardly mentioned in discussions with his team, experience will certainly be a selling point.
South Sydney have reached this point of the year in consecutive seasons and twice they have failed. Maguire and the rest of the Rabbitohs community are hoping third time's a charm with a grand final against either the Bulldogs or Penrith the dream.
"You learn lessons. Experience is a big part of going through that period of the year," Maguire said.
"The senior boys have definitely grown in the way that they've gone about how we train and how we prepare.
"I've got a young, very enthusiastic squad with some great senior players leading the way. It's a very tight group at the moment. We're all aware that we need to play at our best."