Maguire proud of defeated premiers
After being belted 28-12 by the Cronulla Sharks to end their first premiership defence in over four decades, South Sydney coach Michael Maguire sat his players down and reminded them of how proud they should be to play part in the foundation club.
Whether it was to perk up the local kids like Dylan Walker and Jason Clark or give perspective to marquee recruits such as Glenn Stewart or George Burgess, Maguire reminded his troops they were bonded by one thing – the cardinal and myrtle of South Sydney.
For young back-rower Kyle Turner, whose career was very much in doubt after suffering a severe neck injury in February's NRL All Stars game where he had to undergo disc replacement surgery, Madge's speech put things into perspective.
Returning in the backend of the year to play six games for the Rabbitohs, Turner can take one positive out of what was an otherwise lacklustre showing by the reigning premiers.
"It's definitely not the result we were looking for but if you can take a positive out of this year in a personal sense it was that I was able to get back out onto the field after the neck injury," Turner told NRL.com.
"To be a part of a club like South Sydney is honestly a dream come true and for all the boys inside I know they feel the same. And I know we have bigger and better things to come next year.
"[My neck injury] taught me not to take anything for granted. The game can be gone for anyone in a second.
"For blokes like Ben Lowe who wanted to play the rest of the year but unfortunately had to retire it's a reminder of the one thing I'll take from this year."
Maguire when informing the media post-game of his speech refused to make any excuses for his team despite naming a depleted forward pack which missed Burgess, Issac Luke and John Sutton.
"There's a lot of history in the club and we have been able to take it to new highs over the last three to four years and we worked our butts off to try and achieve that again," Maguire said.
"Unfortunately we lost a few players along the way and a few senior guys in John Sutton, Issac and George, but every person who steps in believes in what we try and do.
"They worked hard to get to this point and we played a team who is very hungry in Cronulla. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves earlier on in the game and we created opportunities but didn't take them."
Clearly disappointed by his club's efforts, skipper Greg Inglis said the importance of Madge's speech will ring true when pre-season rolls around in a couple of months.
"At this point in time we have to remind ourselves how fortunate we blokes are to be at such a great club," he said.
"I'm very fortunate to be captain of this great club. We have a few guys leaving us who are very special to us that have left a lot of great memories – there's nothing more I can say than that. Cronulla outplayed us."