BOUNCING BACK: Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs makes a break during the round two NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Rabbitohs  on March 21 in Sydney.  .
BOUNCING BACK: Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs makes a break during the round two NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Rabbitohs on March 21 in Sydney. . Cameron Spencer

Hodges expects the Rabbitohs to bounce back in fierce form

RUGBY LEAGUE: Queensland maroons great Justin Hodges is confident master coach Wayne Bennett will have the Rabbitohs back to their winning ways when they tackle the Warriors on Saturday.

The Souths suffered their first defeat of the season against Manly on the weekend and will face New Zealand, fresh from victory over the Titans, at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Hodges, a long-serving talent with the Broncos, is more than familiar with the training and style of play that comes under the tutelage of Bennett and expected the South Sydney outfit to come out firing in a bid to bounce back.

"They're going to be a whole lot better, Wayne is a guy that doesn't like to lose back-to-back games,” Hodges said.

"The players have been pretty good all year so far and in games, at times, you have a bit of lapse but if there's one person I know who will be able to get his side up, especially for bigger games like this, it'll be Wayne Bennett.

"I'm pretty sure the Rabbits will be back in full swing and ready to rock and roll.”

He said Bennett would likely push his charges to fine-tune the "little things” ahead of the clash.

"Knowing Wayne he's very good at making sure his side continues to do those little one-percenters because at the end of the day they're the ones that get you across the line so I'm pretty sure they'll get the chocolates,” he said.

Hodges said he had already noticed Bennett's influence on the side since arriving at Redfern, especially in defence.

"That's (defence) one of the things he concentrates on especially early on in the season. It's all about valuing defence and making sure you're working together as a group and you can see that the boys are all really trying hard for each other,” he said.

Along with witnessing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in action, Hodges, who will be part of the Fox League commentary crew, was also eager to see how Rabbitohs centre Dane Gagai would perform.

"He's had a pretty quiet year for his standards but he's up against a really good side in the Warriors so this is his time to start putting those games together that we all know he can produce,” he said.

"We all know the type of player that Dane is and he's a guy that loves to get involved and always plays a quality game so lets hope he's in that form that we all know he can do, especially up on Sunny Coast it'd be nice.”

Falcons play the curtain-raiser against Easts at 12.40pm.

Rabbitohs v Warriors at 3pm LIVE, ad-break free during play and in HD on FOX LEAGUE.



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