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August 12, 2014 10:53:23 UK
Issac Luke says South Sydney Rabbitohs are driven by a desire to make up for preliminary final disappointments in the past two seasons.
Their 23-4 win against NRL ladder leaders Manly on Friday put the Rabbitohs two competition points behind the Sea Eagles with four rounds to go in the regular season.
It was their fourth win in a row, and has them in confident mood ahead of Thursday’s home clash with Brisbane Broncos, where they are 1.36 to secure another victory.
The club has a burning desire to win the premiership this year, says hooker Luke, who played in both their losing preliminary finals in 2012 and 2013.
After beating the Raiders in their 2012 semi-final, they lost 32-8 to the Bulldogs to lose out on a spot in the grand final.
South Sydney by-passed last year’s semi-finals by beating Melbourne 20-10 in week one of the finals, only to go down 30-20 to Manly in the preliminary final at ANZ Stadium.
Luke said: “I’ve been at the club for a pretty lengthy period now. And to go that far and get cut short and then to go that far again and get cut short, it’s a big motivation for myself.
“I’m sure the boys have taken on the same motivation too and use it to prepare themselves every week.”
The Rabbitohs, who are 1.91 conceding an eight-point start against Brisbane, have gone 43 years without a premiership, so they are well used to disappointment.
Greg Inglis backed up Luke’s view that the heartbreak of the past two seasons is acting as a spur this time.
“I think the boys this year have that confidence and belief,” he said. “They were there last year and got beaten and that hurt them. And I think that gives them extra motivation.”
The Rabbitohs expect to have captain John Sutton, currently sidelined with a knee problem, back before the start of the finals.
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