South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou has urged his Rabbitohs side to make amends for last year's horror show in Dubbo as they host Canberra in the NSW central west on Sunday.
The Rabbitohs return to Apex Oval against a resurgent Raiders side, knowing the last time they rocked up in Dubbo they were on the wrong end of a 56-12 hiding from Penrith.
Demetriou's side go into Sunday's game down on troops with Jacob Host joining Cameron Murray and Latrell Mitchell on the sidelines.
"We enjoyed the surface when we were here last year, we just didn't enjoy the result," he said.
"We're not living in the past but at the same time we were bitterly disappointed with our performance here last year.
"We are coming here in better shape and in a better mindset."
The defeat against the Panthers last year proved to be the bump back to earth that Souths needed before turning their season around and reaching the grand final.
Under Wayne Bennett last season the Rabbitohs began the year 8-2, but in 2022 Demetriou has only been able to register a 5-5 start.
Demetriou had stressed the importance of rookie halfback Lachlan Ilias keeping control of the game after the Rabbitohs nearly capitulated against the Warriors last week.
Ilias was in fine touch to push the Bunnies out to a 26-point half-time lead before securing a 32-30 victory over the Kiwi outfit.
Demetriou said Souths had focused on sticking to the same game plan for the full 80 minutes.
"It's even more important when we have been under adversity and we've dropped the ball a couple of times and we've asked a few things of our middles," he said.
"When that happens we've got to come together and simplify our game and get some good defensive sets rolling and not go for the big play mindset.
"There were times we could have come together last week and got control of the game and the snowball could've got us. It's a great learning curve for Lachie."
Australian Associated Press
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