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Ennis says Rabbitohs must improve defence for title tilt

Premiership winner Michael Ennis says the 2018 resurgence of the Rabbitohs has rightfully thrown them into the premiership mix, but added their defence is not yet good enough to see them claim a second Telstra Premiership crown in five years.

With eight consecutive wins under their belts and another two points coming their way this week because of a bye, the Rabbitohs are without doubt the form side in the NRL.

In this week's edition of Big League magazine, Ennis said that for all the things going right at Redfern, the puzzle is not yet complete.

"South Sydney have been a breath of fresh air in the competition this year. Defensively they'll need to improve if they want to win the premiership, but their attack has been outstanding," he said.

"[Coach] Anthony Seibold has been brilliant; he's allowed them to play what's in front of them and that suits the likes of Adam Reynolds, Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai, Cody Walker and Alex Johnston. I've been really impressed with them this season and I've enjoyed watching them each week. 

"I turn up with excitement to commentate Rabbitohs games because I know they'll play an exciting, unpredictable brand of football.

"Not only do they have a Plan A, they've now got a Plan B and C which could worry the top sides like the Roosters and Storm. They've been a shining light in 2018 and are serious premiership contenders."

Among the other sides considered genuine premiership threats, Ennis said the Panthers, Storm and league-leading Dragons also had areas they need to work on. 

Panthers forward Trent Merrin.
Panthers forward Trent Merrin. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"The Panthers are under a lot of pressure and they're the side that have hit the skids. They look really tired because they've battled through the early stages of the season," he said.

"They've been brave and have played some terrific football considering all the injuries they've had, but over the past few weeks they've been off. They were lucky to beat the Raiders in Canberra, and were then thrashed by the Roosters, followed by a disappointing loss to Manly. They're in danger of falling out of the top four.

"The Dragons are similar to the Panthers. They may sit atop the competition, but I don't think they're playing as well as they could. The Dragons just got out of jail against Parramatta, who have had a tough season. Yes, they're winning, but their performances have dropped away. "

The uncharacteristically high number of handling errors coming from the Storm this year weren't helping their case, according to Ennis.

"It's been an uncharacteristic 2018 for the Storm. They've been able to grind and record victories, but their handling errors have been astronomical. We haven't seen their attack find its consistent rhythm because they've turned over so much ball, which has been their greatest strength over the past few years."

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