South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has refused to blame the dreaded five-day turnaround for the 42-12 Good Friday hiding they copped from Canterbury.
A Rabbitohs outfit minus star Sam Burgess had their underbelly exposed by the Bulldogs, with a mauling that included six tries inside the opening 30 minutes at ANZ Stadium.
But on the same day the NRL agreed to fund extra provisions to teams coming off short turnarounds, Maguire didn’t use last Sunday’s effort against St George Illawarra as an excuse.
Of the six teams to back up after just five days, only North Queensland have won, although they were also facing off against a team with the same turnaround.
Instead, Maguire chose to lay into his men for failing to aim up in defence.
“Nothing at all there, nothing at all. I have a team in there that can perform better than what we did. It’s up to us to make sure we do,” he said.
“At the end of the day it’s a game where you’ve got to put your body in front and we didn’t do that in the first half.”
All the damage was done in a brutal opening 40 minutes that Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould labelled “the most one-sided game we’ve seen in a long, long time”.
In front of crowd of 38,192, the Bulldogs romped to a 32-0 lead at the break, including two tries to centre Josh Morris in his 200th game.
His second try came when Rabbitohs forward Paul Carter bizarrely attempted to offload the ball while being driven back into his in-goal.
Morris simply had to put his hand on the ball for the try.
Captain James Graham’s 140 metres in the first half alone equalled South Sydney’s entire starting forward pack, while second-rower Tony Williams wasn’t too far behind him with 123.
“It was obviously a good bounce-back for us but Souths had a few out. They were down on troops today,” coach Des Hasler said.
“You have those halves of footy – the second half was sloppier. But we controlled the possession well and that certainly contributes. I’ve said a number of times, this competition is about possession.”
The Rabbitohs added some respectability with back-to-back tries in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 12-10, however an upset Maguire didn’t want to claim any positives.
“At the end of the day we weren’t performing well enough in the first half. Our game’s about putting your body in front,” he said.
“We allowed them to roll down the park. They got control, built pressure and sure enough scored some pretty soft tries.”