Souths move past Brisbane shocker onto Roosters
South Sydney players say they are firmly looking forward to old rivals the Roosters rather than back on a horror Thursday night 47-12 thrashing at the hands of the Broncos.
It was a night to forget for the 2014 premiers, who have now lost four straight matches and appeared to badly miss injured captain and fullback Greg Inglis, who is battling to return to face the Roosters after not being named on Tuesday.
Souths back-rower Glenn Stewart said while there were some areas to improve on the side is excited for a rematch against a Roosters side they accounted for in an entertaining 34-26 clash in Round 2 this year.
"We're looking to win every game obviously from here and we'll be looking no further than this week against the Roosters," he said.
"We've looked at last week's game and we know where we've got to improve and all the boys can't wait for Friday."
However after one of their worst games of the year last week, Stewart said the side needs an improved effort for their own sake ahead of the finals rather than because of the opposition.
"Early on [last week] we felt like we were really in the game even though the scoreboard didn't suggest that; there were a couple of ricochet tries and things like that," he said.
"The score just got away from us. There was some good stuff for us to look at and we took a lot out of that game.
"This time of year I think you can just about forget [about form and records], five games to go, we win five and it's the grand final. We're very confident within the group and exited to where we're heading – I don't think we could be more confident."
Both Jason Clark and George Burgess said the side needed to go "back to the drawing board" after a forgettable outing at Allianz last week.
Burgess also welcomed the side's tough run home as a great acid test ahead of the finals.
"I think it is a good thing... we will be playing these teams in the finals, we want to beat them in the finals, so what better way to get ready for it than to play them in the latter rounds?"
The England international said the vibe among the players was one of excitement.
"We just have to enjoy what we do, we have the best job in the world. We're looking forward to getting out there on Friday, it is a challenge but we are excited about that," he added.
"You always have to want to win, and if can't do that we won't last too long in the finals, we just have to keep putting in good performances."
Clark said the side just needed to leave last week's result behind them.
"Once they're done you can't do anything about them," Clark said.
"Our main focus is the Roosters this week. They're a good side, they are going well, they have won quite a few on the trot now, so if we can get a win against them we will be going well."
With Inglis not named to face the Roosters – Alex Johnston will be the side's No.1 on Friday unless Inglis makes a remarkable recovery from recent minor knee surgery – his teammates said while he is a huge loss they have good cover at the back to replace him in Johnston.
"He's the best player in the world, to have him in your teams is always going to be an advantage but we have players in place to fill spots and we have every faith in those players they can come in a do a job," Burgess said.
"I'm not too sure [if he's going to play], I've seen him around training and he's got a bit of a sore knee so it might be a bit of a push for this week. We will see."
The Rabbitohs have now dropped to seventh, although could still finish as high as fourth if they win and the Storm, Sharks and Bulldogs all lose.
With Canterbury looking likely to account for a rudderless Warriors side at ANZ, Souths more realistically face a tough knockout final next week against one of those three sides.