Rabbitohs ready to take the next step
Despite earning their way to and losing the past two preliminary finals, South Sydney duo Adam Reynolds and John Sutton have refused to draw back on their previous campaigns as they line up for their third consecutive final four clash.
Only managing to look as far back as their 40-24 win over the Sea Eagles in week one of the finals, the Bunnies have put their blinkers on as they embrace a finals showdown with traditional rivals the Sydney Roosters for the first time since 1938 on Friday night.
Thankfully the trains from Redfern Station travel directly to ANZ Stadium allowing the Rabbitohs faithful to avoid the nightmare of going to Central Station and back out again, meaning South Sydney aren’t taking a backwards step in more ways than one.
"[The previous preliminary finals] are behind us now. We have a new team and a lot of the younger boys have really stepped up... as individuals," Adam Reynolds said when asked about previous grand final qualifiers. "It is a new year and we're looking forward to the challenge."
"We're proud of the history of the club and proud of all the past players but we can't control what's happened. It is all up to us and what happens against the Roosters."
South Sydney captain John Sutton echoed his halfback's suggestions by focusing on his team's excitement for the clash.
Not willing to discuss previous campaigns, Sutton was quick to point out where they can improve instead.
"We're not worried about the past. We're just enjoying the present. Everyone is enjoying their footy right now," Sutton said.
"What is in the past has gone. We can't control that. All we can control is what we do at training and make sure everything is fine."
"I can [only look back and] take what we got out of the last game against Manly which was we played good for 65 minutes and not the 80 so we have to make sure we play the whole game this week."
To be fair, South Sydney did concede four tries in 16 minutes against the Sea Eagles and deservingly copped a spray from coach Michael Maguire.
While it may not have been the prettiest spray Reynolds has ever seen, he understood where his Souths mentor was coming from.
"It is just the passion and the joy he has for our footy side. He takes everything to heart and he's only going to bring the best out of our boys," Reynolds said.
"[Madge] just said we need to play for 80 minutes, we can't win semi-final football playing for 65 minutes especially against a quality side like the Roosters... so we'll have to turn up with the right attitude."
With Roosters enforcer Aidan Guerra set to take a similar approach to Reynolds as he did Johnathan Thurston last weekend when he constantly pressured the playmaker when kicking, the Souths halfback won't be backing down.
"I don't feel the pressure. I just have to turn up and do my job for the team. I'm not going to do anything out of the ordinary or overplay my hand," Reynolds said.
"Halves get targeted every week, mate. It is no different to any other week I suppose. My mentality isn't going to change because I have to do my job for the team and that's what it is all about this week."