Painful memories of Bunnies beating have Sia Soliola on high alert
Sia Soliola won't have a bar of talk that South Sydney's premiership chances have slipped and he has 42 reasons to be very wary of the Bunnies.
Souths handed the Raiders a 42-22 thrashing in round seven on the back of a dominant display by their forwards and Soliola is desperate to avoid a repeat.
Coming off losses to the Roosters and Broncos, Anthony Seibold's men will be hell bent on putting their title charge back on the rails at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
"When teams drop a few games like that it's always dangerous to be the next opponent," Soliola said.
"You know they'll be addressing a few things, their attitude changes a bit and you know they'll be raring to go.
"Especially with them playing finals footy they know they'll need to string together a few really solid games together going into the finals.
"We know we have to address their big pack as well and they've been scoring some really good quality tries just through really good set pieces.
"So that's going to be really tough, especially with Damien Cook slicing everybody through the middle."
In their only clash this season against Canberra, six Souths players ran for more than 100 metres, including a rampaging effort from Sam Burgess who clocked 203 metres.
The Rabbitohs have been further bolstered by the return from injury of Greg Inglis (broken thumb) at centre, with fullback Alex Johnston and winger Campbell Graham also named on Tuesday.
Soliola produced a try-saving tackle on Roosters speedster Joseph Manu last Sunday when a reshuffle forced him into the centres, but he's happy to return to the back row this weekend.
"I was really nervous out there," he said.
"It was one of those things when Brad [Abbey] came off there was a lot of reshuffling, but it was one of those things that no matter where we found ourselves, just to put our bodies in front either in defence to make a shot and not miss a tackle or in attack just to run hard."
Canberra have lost Joe Tapine for the last two weeks of the season due to a broken thumb but welcome back Michael Oldfield (centre), allowing Elliott Whitehead to move back into the pack.
Emre Guler did enough in his NRL debut last week to retain his place on the bench, with the 20-year-old still reflecting on a whirlwind week which began with Ricky Stuart breaking the news of his call-up.
"I was in the gym and Ricky came up to me and was like 'you're playing this week' and I was like 'Oh, wow', let me just finish my set and we had a little chat and that was it," Guler said.
"I waited until the end of training [to call my family] because I wanted to settle down and think about it and then I called mum and she was really excited and she had the whole family there which was special."
The chance to play his junior team will present Guler with a new set of emotional challenges as he tackles the Burgess brothers - men he literally and figuratively looked up to during his time in Sydney.
"When I was younger, and Tom, George and Sam first came over to Souths I was about 13 I was freaking out, I couldn't believe how good they were," he said.
"It will be a really important game for me. I did all of my juniors at Souths all the way through to SG Ball and I know a few of the boys so it'll be a really special game for me."