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Johnston feeling 2014 vibes with Rabbitohs belief sky-high

Alex Johnston is one of three Rabbitohs still at the club from their premiership-winning 2014 season and says unlike the past three preliminary finals campaigns, the belief in this year's squad is like their last title triumph.

Johnston starred on the wing for the Bunnies in his rookie season in 2014 and seven years later he's now a leader at the club looking to send off Wayne Bennett and several of his teammates on the right note.

Last week's 16-10 upset win over the Panthers was a breakthrough effort from Bennett's side and earned them their first week off in a finals series since their last grand final appearance.

The Rabbitohs will play either the Sea Eagles or Roosters in week three as they eye their second grand final in 50 years.

"I reckon the belief, we've definitely got the belief like we did back then, that's the main thing," Johnston said on Tuesday when asked of the similarities with 2014.

"It's probably the same. I said it last time we played [Penrith], we lost but I thought we took a lot of belief out of that game knowing if we played our game and complete we can definitely beat them.

"We put on pretty much an 80-minute performance and got the chocolates. We've already got that belief for sure, it's just about trying to maintain that for the next couple of games.

"As I said it's just one game and we've got two more."

Match Highlights: Panthers v Rabbitohs

Bennett's looming departure from Redfern has been known since February last year while Adam Reynolds, Dane Gagai and Jaydn Su'A are also in their final weeks at the club.

Benji Marshall's future is also yet to be decided with the veteran weighing up retirement.

"It probably adds to it but I think we've all got that desire that's been building up over the last few years," Johnston said of the team's hunger for a premiership.

"This year like every year we've just got to do our best and hopefully get the job done."

Bennett opted to rest several stars including Johnston in round 25 with and the  winger said another week's rest has been crucial in comparison to previous seasons when challenging for the title.

"I think it will definitely help get our bodies right and maybe mentally prepare a bit better than we have in previous years," he said.

"I know last year we had a lot of bodies out and a lot of guys hurt so hopefully this year will be different."

Arrow chats Panthers win, Wayne’s influence and maiden prelim final

Rabbitohs prop Mark Nicholls was relishing the chance to have some extra time off this week after captaining the side against the Dragons a fortnight ago when Bennett opted to rest most of his stars.

"I think we've seen in the last couple of years the team that has had the week off it's really benefited them," Nicholls said.

"It's a long year, we play a tough game so a week off, just having an opportunity to get a couple of extra training sessions in and try to nail down our execution and defensive processes.

"It's only going to be beneficial [but] it's [also] what you make of it."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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