Rabbitohs flying but Bennett downplays premiership talk
T'S the stat that may make it hard for South Sydney fans to keep a lid on their expectations in the 2019 NRL season.
The Rabbitohs head into Sunday's clash with North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium with a 7-1 record after the first eight rounds.
In 10 of the past 15 seasons in which the Rabbitohs have won seven of their first eight matches, they've brought a premiership back to Redfern.
Not that seven-time grand final-winning coach Wayne Bennett is allowing himself to dream of September glory this early in the season.
"A third of the way through the season, it'll be the last third that'll determine who's going to win what," Bennett said on Saturday.
"That's where they're really won.
"At this point, you've got to put yourself in a place to be in a good spot going into the end of the season.
"We're doing a lot of things right - we've got to keep doing it. Three or four weeks out from the end of the season will really be a good time to recognise who's the best chance of winning the premiership."
Souths will take an unchanged side into Sunday's match, with Ethan Lowe to play his former club and five-eighth Cody Walker aiming to continue the form that has put him in the frame for a State of Origin debut.
The Cowboys head south after a morale-boosting win last weekend over Gold Coast.
Josh McGuire (calf) is out for North Queensland but powerhouse Jason Taumalolo looms as a key factor after his successful return from a knee injury against the Titans.
"He's a big human and he's probably got the best footwork in the comp, let alone for someone of his size," Souths lock Cameron Murray told AAP.
"He's a great player, brings a lot to their side, so we'll have to stop his go forward.
"We'll have to stop a lot of his momentum to sort of give ourselves the best opportunity to win the game."