South Sydney back-rower Chris McQueen says the NRL team were guilty of getting too far ahead of themselves in 2013 – something that won’t happen this year.
Chris McQueen admits South Sydney were guilty of believing their own hype ahead of last year’s preliminary final flop but says it’s a mistake that won’t be made this season.
Burdened by a 43-year premiership drought, long-suffering Rabbitohs fans were ecstatic after Melbourne were brushed aside 20-10 in the opening week of the NRL finals.
The Storm had won 14 of the preceding 15 fixtures between the sides but the Rabbitohs turned the tables, sending the hype machine surrounding the foundation club into overdrive.
Despite earning themselves a week off going into game against Manly and racing to an early lead, Michael Maguire’s side were ambushed by a battle-hardened Sea Eagles outfit they’d already beaten twice that season.
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons from that,” McQueen told AAP.
“When you get to the finals, anything can happen. Form doesn’t count for anything – it’s about what happens on the day.
“It’s one thing that Madge (Maguire) has driven into us that it’s one game at a time.”
McQueen admits it is difficult avoiding the hype that surrounds one of the biggest and best supported clubs in the NRL but the experience of falling one game short of the grand final in successive years certainly helps.
“A lot of the boys, over the last few years, hadn’t much finals experience,” he said.
“We’d never been in that position and a few of the boys were guilty of getting ahead of themselves.
“It was something we talked about at the end of the year. We have to worry about now and not what might happen in the future because if can be over in a flash.
“For me, it’s easy to distance myself. If I pick up the paper, there will be something in there about South Sydney so I don’t read them.
“If I turn on Fox Sports News, there will be something about Souths on there, so I don’t watch it.
“I know if there is nothing for me to see, then it makes it easy to focus on what’s in front of me.”
McQueen recently put an end to speculation about his future by signing a new two-year deal that brought the Queensland back-rower’s pay in line with other representative players at the club.
He said it was a relief to get the deal completed and that he never wanted to leave Souths.
“It was going on for a while and there were rumours about whether I was staying or not,” he said.
“But I knew the whole time and so did the club that I wasn’t going anywhere.”