NRL: Table tells the story ahead of Souths clash

The Rabbitohs pipped the Warriors by two points in their last encounter. Photo / Getty Images
The Rabbitohs pipped the Warriors by two points in their last encounter. Photo / Getty Images

Simon Mannering rarely looks at the NRL table. He doesn't see the point. You're either doing well or you need to do better.

The Warriors skipper didn't know where his side were sitting on the ladder ("somewhere near the bottom," he guessed) but is aware the Rabbitohs are travelling very well at the top of the table after 13 wins from 15 games. It's part of the reason why he felt the Warriors they have nothing to feel comfortable about even though they have won their last five which has them on the cusp of the top eight.

The Warriors take on Souths in Perth on Sunday night in a clash of the two form teams of the competition. One side's impressive run will come to an end - the Rabbitohs have won their last four - in unfamiliar territory and the Warriors are desperate to equal the six-game winning run they put together in 2008.

Mannering doesn't feel like his side are playing as well as they can, which he thinks should help ward off any signs of complacency among his teammates.

"We have won a few games lately but there are still plenty of things to work on," he said. "We can't expect someone to get another intercept try in the last few minutes to win us a game every week [like Konrad Hurrell did last weekend against Brisbane].

"The pleasing thing is the effort in the team, especially defensively. Any time the Warriors defend well we seem to have a bit of success. That's going to have to continue against the Bunnies because they have good backs with size and a big forward pack."

The Warriors' defence has improved dramatically in recent weeks. They conceded an average of more than 28 points in their first 10 games but have let in only 14.8 in their last five. No team has put more than 18 points on them in the five-game winning streak.

Mannering has often been at the forefront of that, and was particularly impressive against Brisbane last weekend when he made 44 tackles including a handful that snuffed out promising Broncos attacks.

The Rabbitohs possess so many weapons across the park, from their big front row to fullback Greg Inglis, who averages an impressive 168m a game and leads the league for tackle breaks with 75. They also welcome back George Burgess and Chris McQueen and are seemingly on course for their first minor premiership since 1989.

The Warriors have some weapons of their own, including Hurrell who has been a threat since his return to the first-grade side.

The big centre is still vulnerable in defence but a handful with the ball in hand and scored the matchwinners against both Manly and Brisbane and he will be even more important if winger Manu Vatuvei, who has scored 10 tries in 11 games, is forced out of Sunday's game with a shin injury.

Warriors side to play Souths at NIB Stadium, Perth, on Sunday (8.30pm NZT): Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Elijah Taylor, Interchange: Russell Packer, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Dominique Peyroux, Ngani Laumape, Suaia Matagi, Charlie Gubb.

- APNZ

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