South Sydney stars have revealed how the pain of losing consecutive preliminary finals is fuelling the Rabbitohs‘ red-hot charge through the finals.
Wayne Bennett’s Bunnies are flying high after piling on 106 points in wins over the Roosters and Newcastle and the path towards a premiership continues against Parramatta in Saturday’s semi-final at Bankwest Stadium.
Beating the Eels is the only focus, but star hooker Damien Cook said they also have one eye on redemption after falling short in the preliminary final for the past two years.
“It still hurts today missing those opportunities to go to the grand final,” Cook said.
“We’ve got our mind on Parramatta this week, but we’ve got a great opportunity in front of us and there is possibly three rounds to go and we have to make sure that we make the most of this difficult year.
“We don’t want to waste it and bow out early.”
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Halfback Adam Reynolds knows what is like to taste premiership success having claimed the 2014 title with Souths.
He has also experienced the pain of losing one game short of a grand final on multiple occasions.
Asked why a preliminary final loss hurts so much, Reynolds didn’t waste his words.
“Because we were so close, and it took a lot of hard work and effort to get there,” Reynolds said.
“To fall short two years in a row, it stings.
“But we’ve got a great opportunity in front of us and we just have to make the most of our opportunities this year.
“The players that have been there and experienced it still have that burning desire.”
Rabbitohs centre Dane Gagai says a day rarely goes by when he doesn’t think about winning a premiership.
“I made my debut in 2011 and I’ve been to a few prelims and had a few wooden spoons, so going back to back prelims and not going to the big dance is definitely something that I think about all the time,” Gagai said.
“We’ve got an opportunity again this year to make that happen.”
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