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South Sydney's attack has broken records this season, but forward Jai Arrow believes it's their defence that will determine whether they beat Penrith on Saturday night.

While the Rabbitohs last month became the first team in premiership history to score 30 points in eight consecutive matches, their work without the ball of late has been just as impressive.

And it will need to be rock-solid if Wayne Bennett's men are to topple Ivan Cleary's troops in their qualifying final at QCB Stadium.

Defence was viewed as a concern for South Sydney earlier in the year after they allowed 50 points against the Panthers and Storm, but their wall was very sturdy to finish the regular season.

Over the last six rounds, they boasted the league's best defensive record - conceding only 85 points at an average of 14.6 per game.

That was a stark improvement on the 20.4 points the Rabbitohs conceded per game on average during their first 18 matches in 2021.

From round 20 onwards, they gave up more than 16 points in just one match - a 25-12 loss to Penrith in round 23.

They contained fellow finalists the Eels (12 points), Roosters (12 points) and Titans (six points) to two tries or fewer in the run home while the Dragons mustered 14 and 16 points in two clashes.

In that time, South Sydney also scored the second-most points (212) behind Manly (215) as they heated up before the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Penrith conceded 101 points in their last six games (second-best in the competition) and scored 159 points (fourth) - finding their groove as some of their stars returned from injuries.

Even without suspended fullback Latrell Mitchell, some may see the Rabbitohs' best chance of upsetting the Panthers in a high-octane attacking shootout inspired by the likes of Cody Walker.

Arrow, however, suggested they will trust their newfound defensive resolve to provide the foundation in Townsville.

"I suppose finals footy is won on defence, so we're going to have to back ourselves. The past eight weeks we've been tremendous, we haven't leaked too many points," Arrow said.

"Obviously, we had those two games against the top teams [earlier in the season] where we leaked 50 points, but our last two months, we've been really good defensively.

"That'll be our mindset: to basically not let them cross our line and for us to score as many times as we can on their line. That'll be our plan."

Interestingly, hooker Damien Cook admitted a few weeks ago that South Sydney had tweaked their defensive system after being walloped 56-12 by Penrith in Dubbo in round 11.

Panthers v Rabbitohs - Qualifying Final

"We've definitely got a different defensive mindset now. We've changed a few things around in our structure and how we defend as well," Cook said prior to facing the Panthers last time.

Cook insisted there hadn't been a "complete overhaul" in defence but admitted "we probably just gave the Panthers too much space and they tore us apart" when they copped a flogging.

Whether those defensive changes are enough to challenge for a premiership will soon be revealed under the blowtorch of finals footy.

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