AAP Rugby

Souths look for top-eight scalp in Tigers

By AAP Newswire

South Sydney have been told to clean up their execution to compete with the top teams as they hunt their first top-eight scalp since the NRL's resumption.

Friday night's clash with Wests Tigers shapes as a virtual four-point game for both teams, who are ranked eighth and ninth and look likely to be battling for a finals spot.

But the Bunnies know they must pick up their game to beat the top teams.

Since the competition restarted in May, Souths have won all three games against teams sitting outside the top eight by at least 16 points.

But in matches against teams in the top eight, they have lost all three by eight or more.

"Wests Tigers are playing well, and I think we have picked our act up in the past few weeks ourselves," Bennett said.

"Even though we haven't won all the games, our effort and enthusiasm has certainly been there ... all the things that are important.

"We just haven't executed as well as we should. That's what we get that the better it will make us more in contention with the top teams."

Bennett's assessment is more than fair, with the Rabbitohs ranked 12th in the competition for their completion rates.

"It's important we just play well on Friday night and we don't beat ourselves," Bennett said.

"We played them in a close game last year and they beat us on the siren."

Meanwhile Bennett said he will stick with four forwards on the bench, with Bayley Sironsen able to play in the backs if required through injury.

Centre Braidon Burns had surgery on his season-ending knee injury earlier this week, meaning James Roberts will stay starting at centre.

Asked on what he'd liked from Roberts since his return from a lay off in the past three weeks, Bennett said: "Not much."

When pressed on what he wanted to see, Bennett responded: "Time on the field and getting his game together.

"He was better at training this week than last year.

"It's just a time thing. He's missed a lot of football this year. Everyone has six weeks in front of him.

"Last week he got a start and he's looking better this week."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Latrell Mitchell has scored six tries in six games against Wests Tigers.

* Wests Tiger David Nofoaluma leads the NRL for tackle busts (43) and has the most metres of all wingers (1478).

* Wests Tigers concede the second most tries through kicks.