5 Mar 2015

Rabbitohs set for new season

12:41 pm on 5 March 2015

Far from burnt out, South Sydney believe a mammoth pre-season has them primed for the greatest challenge in rugby league, securing back-to-back NRL titles.

The Rabbitohs open their title defence in a sellout season-opener against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Souths win 2015 World Club Challenge over St Helens.

Souths win 2015 World Club Challenge over St Helens. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After completing a summer sweep of the Auckland Nines, Charity Shield and the World Club Challenge Series with a record-setting 39-0 rout of St Helens, Souths will start 2015 as outright favourites to become the first team in 22 years to win successive premierships.

No side since the great Brisbane outfit in 1993 featuring Steve Renouf, Allan Langer, Kevin and Kerrod Walters and Glenn Lazarus has successfully defended their crown.

Rabbitohs celebrations.NRL Grand Final - Rabbitohs v Bulldogs. Sunday 5 October 2014.

Rabbitohs celebrations.NRL Grand Final - Rabbitohs v Bulldogs. Sunday 5 October 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Melbourne and Manly dominated for a decade and threatened to build dynasties but still couldn't manage two grand final wins in a row.

The Sydney Roosters reached six title deciders in 13 seasons, but nor could they muster consecutive premierships.

The Souths coach Michael Maguire admitted it was a tall order but insisted the Rabbitohs were excited rather than nervous about trying to go back to back.

"We obviously put a lot of time into the pre-season and we're looking forward to games," Maguire says.

"We've been able to travel across to Arizona, and also to England, and have some good times there, but our focus now is about round one."

Maguire acknowledged the Rabbitohs would need to take their awesome power game to another level to reign again in 2015.

"Every team is fresh after pre-season and we need to be the same," he says.

"The bar will raise and we need to raise our bar as well as we move through the season, and definitely in round one."

"You look at the Broncos team, and with Wayne (Bennett) going (back) up there, no doubt he'll bring his aura around the team and what he brings to the Broncos."

"He's obviously spent a lot of time up there (previously) and we're expecting that they're going to be well drilled."

"So for us we definitely need to be spot on our game."

Maguire promises fans there is no danger of the Rabbitohs being fatigued after their hectic pre-season, saying the club has plans in place "every single day" to combat potential burnout.

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