Rabbitohs ready for free-wheeling Panthers
South Sydney lock Sam Burgess says his team aren't far away from producing a match-winning performance but will need to turn effort into results to snap a two-game losing run when they visit an unpredictable Panthers outfit on Friday night.
After a poor opening round loss Souths were good in consecutive wins before being out-classed by the Roosters and Cowboys despite trying hard.
Burgess said effort was one thing but execution was another and has backed his team to turn it around on Friday – with or without hooker Robbie Farah, who is under a cloud after suffering back spasms early on in the Cowboys loss.
"The boys pulled up pretty well [from the Townsville loss], it was tough conditions up there, it was hot and quite humid but I thought we dealt with the conditions quite well," Burgess said from Souths training on Tuesday.
"We stayed in the arm wrestle throughout the game but unfortunately weren't clinical enough at times. We gave the ball away and a few seven play tackles and a good team like the Cowboys will take advantage of that. It was just too much for us in the end."
 Telstra Premiership: Rabbitohs vs Panthers
Having two top-class hookers on the books has been a blessing given the Farah injury, according to Burgess.
"He (Farah) has got a bit of a stiff back at the moment. He's certainly improved since the game, he got a bit of a back spasm and looked in a bit of pain there but he's improving daily," Burgess said.
"We've got good medical staff here. He's working hard to get fit for this weekend so we'll see how he goes.
"We knew we were in that position at the start of the season, we had two fantastic hookers and either one would do a cracking job so I think we're spoilt for choice really. The hooking role throughout the NRL is a sought-after job and we've got two of the best so we're lucky with that.
"It's been working well with Damien and Robbie but I thought Damien did a good last week with starting. We'll see how Robbie goes this week but we don't know what's happening just yet."
While the Roosters and Cowboys are two of the more clinical teams in the NRL currently, the Panthers can be just as dangerous through their enthusiasm, offloading and unpredictability. Their 28-6 loss in Melbourne last week did not reflect the number of chances Penrith generated against a potent Storm defensive line.
"They attack from everywhere," Burgess said.
"We will need to be good defensively and stay up in the line. I watched the game last week and I thought the score-line probably didn't reflect their efforts.
"You can't get carried away with that one, they're back at home chasing a win and I think they get a few bodies back in their team. It will be a great challenge for us. The NRL doesn't get any easier.
"Defensively we've been fairly sound over the last couple of weeks with the wrestle and controlling the ball but they like to offload the ball – Trent Merrin, James Tamou, whether [Bryce] Cartwright plays or not they've got some exciting players there who can get that second-phase football so it's our job to try and shut that down and when that offload comes hold our line and defend the play."