Busy pre-season made us stronger: Maguire
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has rejected the notion that a heavy pre-season schedule would result in a jetlag-induced premiership hangover, insisting their global trophy hunt has made them even stronger as a group.
As if to emphasise that they were suffering no ill effects from their World Club Challenge win over St Helens just 10 days ago, the Rabbitohs finished all over the top of the Broncos in stifling conditions on Thursday night, running out commanding 36-6 winners to resume their place on the top of the ladder.
Since their Grand Final triumph over the Bulldogs last October South Sydney have attended a training camp in Arizona, flown to New Zealand for the Auckland Nines, spent a week in the north of England and then opened their premiership defence in Brisbane.
If ever you could have forgiven a sluggish first-up performance it was on Thursday night but in the space of three months Maguire has somehow found a way to keep that 43-year fire burning just a little longer.
"I think the more the talk that you guys try to convince everyone that we've got that issue, we don't believe that's an issue at all," Maguire said.
"We've had great preparations that have made us a stronger team in everything that we've been through.
"The time we've spent when we've been overseas, the camaraderie amongst the team, they're getting closer and closer. They're great mates and I think that tells on the park.
"A lot of people have questioned what we did through the pre-season. I think it's actually made us a stronger team by how we've come together."
Following their World Club Challenge win over St Helens, Rabbitohs players were told to stay awake for the first eight-hour leg of the return journey to Australia and after returning home on the Wednesday were straight back into training on Thursday morning.
Captain Greg Inglis credited their strong showing against the Broncos with the way the team presented themselves physically under unusual circumstances.
"We definitely did [want to prove a point], there's no doubt about that," Inglis said.
"It goes back to the boys getting their bodies right and the preparation right from the England travel and we just had to get in and get it done.
"Last year was last year and we solely had to concentrate on Broncos tonight and the boys did exceptionally well coming back from England and getting their bodies right to travel up here, and we move on to next week now to take on the Roosters."
Centre Dylan Walker looks set to benefit most from the addition of Glenn Stewart to the South Sydney squad and confirmed the desire within the group to continue on their winning ways.
"The success that we had last year, it comes down from 'Madge' (Maguire) and the boys, they didn't want to stop winning," Walker told NRL.com.
"We all got into a room together and said, 'Let's try and win everything' and that's what we've been trying to do.
"It's always nice to get the win in Round 1 but what we learnt from last year was we come out firing in Round 1 and then lost three in a row so we've got to knuckle down and rip in at training."