Maguire upbeat despite Rabbitohs loss
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire blasted his players the last time his side went down to the Wests Tigers back in Round 9, but he took a much different approach following their 30-14 loss at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Maguire praised his side for their fighting spirit after being forced to play with 15 players for the final 50 minutes of the Round 14 Telstra Premiership clash and is confident the tide will turn once they start getting players back from injury.
The Rabbitohs lost Sam Burgess in the 26th minute to what appeared to be a shoulder injury and were dealt a further blow four minutes later when Bryson Goodwin came off with what Maguire said was a suspected broken forearm.
The loss of the experienced pair adds to South Sydney's injury list which includes John Sutton, George Burgess, Hymel Hunt and Luke Keary.
"The boys put a lot of energy and effort into everything we've been doing and unfortunately we had a couple of blokes that had to go off in Sam and Bryson in that first half with injuries," an upbeat Maguire said after the game.
"The boys still showed a lot of fight; that's one thing I love about this group. They're showing a lot of character around the things we're going through at the moment.
"We just seem to be in a bit of a spot at the moment where we're losing one or two players each week.
"That's the one thing that will make this club very strong. There's a lot of character amongst the boys that I have in the change room. I know if we keep staying at it, the opportunities will turn."
Despite sitting one win outside the top eight midway through the season, Maguire said he was proud of his players and backed them to improve once they fixed the problems plaguing them at the moment.
The biggest area of concern is the work being done without the ball. The Rabbitohs missed 44 tackles on Friday night after missing 43 last week against the Titans in Perth and now boast the fourth worst defence in the competition.
"We haven't gone through the last couple of months the way we wanted," he said.
"But the effort and energy is there around what we're doing and the camaraderie around the group is obviously strong.
"We just need to make sure that we work hard at some areas. Our defence probably let us down a bit tonight at times during the game. I think we missed a number of tackles and that's the individual stuff that our players will continually work at.
"We've shown in games – especially over the last month – where our boys are capable of scoring tries. We've just got to make sure we work hard defensively."