Penrith’s Jamie Soward believes John Sutton’s being restored to five-eighth is the reason for South Sydney’s return to winning ways last week.
Penrith’s Jamie Soward credits John Sutton’s return to five-eighth as the reason for South Sydney’s improved form and nominates the skipper as the key to the Rabbitohs’ attack.
Sutton, who made a club-record 212th appearance for Souths last Saturday against St George Illawarra, was restored to the halves from the back row by coach Michael Maguire following a run of three straight NRL losses.
The move paid dividends as the Rabbitohs eased to a 26-6 win at the SCG and former NSW five-eighth Soward was full of admiration for the performance of the man who’ll be his opposite number at Sportingbet Stadium on Friday night.
“John Sutton, for me, is one of the form players in the competition,” Soward told AAP.
“Even when he was playing at lock, he was still doing a great job for South Sydney and he’s going to be a big leader for them.
“I watched him on the weekend; when John plays at five-eighth, Adam Reynolds really settles into his halfback role.”
Penrith maintained their 100 per cent home record with a gritty defensive effort in the driving rain to hold out Canberra 12-6 last Saturday and bounce back from a big defeat at Parramatta the previous week.
Despite an excellent start that’s produced three wins from five games, Soward is expecting Souths – who are two from five – to provide the Panthers with their toughest test so far.
“Everyone is speaking about their forward pack so we’ve got our work cut out for us but we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us. We understand that.
“We’d love to see a massive crowd out here. We’d like to think three wins at home gets the Penrith community excited and ready to come out and hopefully get a good win.
“It’s important for us to keep winning at home.”
Soward and fellow new recruit Peter Wallace got only the second opportunity to link up together in the win over the Raiders.
The pair have battled with back and groin problems respectively and the former Brisbane halfback is confident they’re improving as a combination.
“We’re taking a lot of confidence out of the games we’ve played together,” Wallace said.
“It’s only going to get better and better the more time we spend on the field together.
“It’s definitely exciting. It’s exciting to be in a new team as well. There’s a lot of potential here.”