NRL: Souths licked into shape by lesson

The Rabbitohs admit they were outclassed by the Storm, but say the lessons they learned will help them take down Canberra at ANZ Stadium tonight. Photo / Getty
The Rabbitohs admit they were outclassed by the Storm, but say the lessons they learned will help them take down Canberra at ANZ Stadium tonight. Photo / Getty

Seven days after being taught a finals lesson by perennial heavyweights Melbourne, South Sydney are aiming to graduate with their first NRL finals victory in 25 years.

The Rabbitohs admit they were outclassed by the Storm, but say the lessons they learned will help them take down Canberra at ANZ Stadium tonight.

A win there would be their first in the finals since they beat Balmain 15-12 in a minor preliminary semifinal in 1987.

And while that drought must feel like a lifetime for Rabbitohs fans, coach Michael Maguire argues the finals clinic dished out by Melbourne means more than anything.

"It's all the little things in the game," Maguire said. "Kick pressure, your kick chase to all the little things this team has been developing right throughout the year. We've got to make sure we take that into this game.

"(Giving away penalties) put a lot of pressure on ourselves and Melbourne showed us how to play disciplined footy in finals.

They completed sets and put a lot of pressure on us. That's what the three of their big boys do and the rest of their team.

"They're a quality team and they showed us how to play finals."

Maguire was disappointed by his side's inability to convert second-half pressure into points, and put that down to a lack of finals experience.

And he said rookie halfback Adam Reynolds and five-eighth John Sutton would be better for the touch-up they received from finals veterans Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.

"Every experience that the players have had this year they've lifted," he said. "Right throughout the year we've learned lessons from every game that we've played. The losses and the wins.

"That was a tough loss to take but we took a lot out of that.

"We got a lot out of that game on the weekend about what we need to do this week.

"I know Sutto and Reyno will perform to their capabilities. If we get our forward pack moving forward and they can play off the back of that, it makes things fall our way.

"When you're playing in finals you've got to take those opportunities ... We didn't play to our capabilities and Melbourne took their chances."

Currently on a six-game winning run, Canberra are a vastly different proposition to the outfit that were belted by Souths 36-18 in round 12.

Missing that day were fullback Josh Dugan and centre Blake Ferguson, dropped for disciplinary reasons, and Maguire was quick to remind his team of the Raiders' strong recent form.

"They're a team that are working for each other," he said.

"When they're doing that they're giving themselves a chance."

Rabbitohs v Raiders
ANZ Stadium, 9.45 tonight
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Tony Archer

- AAP

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