South Sydney coach Michael Maguire says the Rabbitohs have done their homework on in-form Roosters halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney.
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire wants to douse the on-fire Roosters halves while having to do without the usual spark from one of his own.
The final round NRL local derby at Allianz Stadium on Thursday brings together two of the competition’s hottest teams.
The reigning premiers have won five straight and the Rabbitohs have won six of their past seven.
Maguire identified the Roosters’ ability to build pressure, especially through halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney, as a key factor in the premiers late season surge.
“They are really on fire at the moment, they are performing well,” Maguire said on Tuesday.
“They are building pressure off their kicking game and they are executing well.
“We’ve done our homework and we need to make sure we nullify everything they are doing.”
Souths will go into the match without halfback Adam Reynolds, who has pleaded guilty to a grade-one dangerous throw charge.
The suspension will end his run of 76 straight games since making his first grade debut in the opening round of the 2012 season.
Maguire is likely to have five-eighth John Sutton back after a five-match absence caused by knee ligament damage.
If Sutton can’t play, Maguire said centre Dylan Walker, who started at five-eighth in the opening round win over the Roosters, could move back there, with Luke Keary tipped to shift across to halfback.
Going into their last round clash, the great local rivals are level on points.
Souths are clinging onto second spot by virtue of a wafer thin two-point advantage on for and against.
Both sides are two points behind ladder leader Manly, who face a tricky last round assignment away to in-form North Queensland.
If Manly lose, the winner of Thursday’s game will claim the minor premiership by soaring above the Sea Eagles, who have a vastly inferior points differential to both the Roosters and Rabbitohs.
However, Maguire is more focused on performance than ladder position.
“It’s more important for us to play and perform the way we can,” Maguire said
He wants the Rabbitohs to build on the impressive effort in the final stages of their last start win over the Bulldogs.
“There’s plenty of improvement in us,” Maguire said.