Daniel Lane June 24, 2012
Lessons learned ... Rabbitohs forward Scott Geddes takes on the Broncos defence on Friday night in a game South Sydney co-captain Michael Crocker described as one of the fastest he's played. Photo: Getty Images
SOUTH SYDNEY co-captain Michael Crocker hoped his teammates learned something in each of the 121 more tackles they had to make compared with Brisbane in Friday night's disappointing loss.
The Rabbitohs, tipped by many to cement a top-four finals spot, were beaten 26-12 at Suncorp Stadium in a game Crocker described as ''ugly''. However, he said his players needed to understand - and learn - what Brisbane did to race home after they trailed Souths 6-4 at half-time.
Crocker insisted the Rabbitohs had not been caught up in talk of a return to the club's ''glory days'' of the 1960s and '70s after some promising performances this year. While some critics had earmarked Souths as top four material Crocker noted there was a worrying trend in the team that needed to be urgently addressed. ''In the last two games we've played against teams above us [on the premiership ladder] we've put ourselves in reasonable positions to win them but not come away with the points,'' he said.
''[Coach] Michael Maguire is doing a good job of keeping us grounded so we're not reading too much into [the glory days talk]. We know we have a lot of work to do and we have a lot of improvement in us as well.''
However, he agreed there was plenty of time for Souths, one of the premiership's most exciting teams, to fulfil their potential in time for an assault on the finals, but added that would only come from players learning from each game.
''Obviously you take different things out of a game whether you win or lose,'' he said. ''I think you tend to take more out of a loss because you look at the different areas you need to work on to get the win.
''We're getting there. There's still a lot of learning and still a lot of improvement in Souths and while we're still getting there slowly, we are getting there. It was an ugly game at times from both sides.
''But Brisbane just played smarter. They got the ball down our end, they had a really good kick-chase and their defence was really strong on the back of it. That's exactly what you need to do in those tight games. We need to take a lesson out of the way they played and hopefully use it ourselves next time we're in that kind of a situation.''
Crocker conceded the Rabbitohs didn't help their cause after a glut of dropped ball and silly penalties forced them to make 121 tackles more then their opposition. Ultimately, the tough workload took its toll on the visiting team's legs and Brisbane stormed home.
Not surprisingly Crocker, who is a former Queensland Origin forward, pushed for Greg Inglis to replace the injured Billy Slater in the Maroons' No.1 jumper. He predicted Inglis would star in the code's toughest arena if given the chance after he'd watched the destruction Inglis had caused for Souths since his shift earlier this year. ''Considering how dangerous he is bringing the ball back, and putting himself in the game whenever he wants, I think he'd be good for it,'' said Crocker.
Queensland have an extra Origin concern on top of injured fullback Billy Slater with Broncos centre Justin Hodges could be in trouble with a rib injury 12 days out from the biggest State of Origin game since 1980. The 30-year-old repeatedly clutched at his right side during the second half on Friday night. ''Justin's been carrying it [rib injury] for a while and every now and then he gets a bump on it,'' said Broncos coach Anthony Griffin.