RUGBY LEAGUE - DRAGONS
Dragons centre Dylan Farrell refuses to believe disharmony among his former teammates is threatening to derail the Rabbitohs' campaign before his new side clashes with Souths at the SCG on Saturday.
Souths, touted as premiership favourites after their opening-round thrashing of defending premiers the Roosters, have since lost three straight games, amid suggestions of a rift in the playing group.
Farrell played games 70 games in the red and green before joining the Dragons this year. And with his inside knowledge, he said he was wary of the South Sydney backlash on Saturday night.
"I definitely don't buy it. They're a great bunch of boys and they stick together on and off the field," Farrell said.
"Every team, they train really hard over the preseason and it's not easy to get the two points.
"People underestimate how hard it is.
"At the moment they're just not playing their best footy but I'm sure they'll get it right."
The Dragons are coming off a 36-20 loss to the Broncos last week, and Farrell said his team are preparing for a Rabbitohs side ready to fire in the face of recent criticism.
"They're used to a bit of the limelight, but they handle themselves pretty well. And that [criticism] is only going to inspire them to play better," Farrell said.
"They're a great side and they're very well coached.
"At the moment they haven't been going their best and they would know that.
"We know that too, so we've got to bring our A game, because they can turn it on and be the best team in the comp."
Souths coach Michael Maguire has made some tough decisions following those three straight losses - the longest losing streak of his coaching tenure. He has shelved a plan to play John Sutton in the forwards and instead reinstated him at five-eighth.
Farrell believes Sutton's return to the halves, where he played exclusively during his own Rabbitohs career, could spark a return to the form that saw Souths tipped to achieve this season.
"Getting him back at six is just going to steady the ship that little bit more - he really steers the ship well," Farrell said.
Having played for both clubs, Farrell expects the clash between two of the league's oldest and proudest rivals in the grand theatre of the SCG to be a step up from the average club fixture.
"These clubs have the most premierships in the league so there's a lot a lot of proud history in both clubs," he said.
"We often get ex-players in the club and talk to you every now and again, and that just inspires you to get out there and be even prouder in that Red V. And it's the same thing with the Souths jersey."