Jason Demetriou in grim Jack Wighton warning ahead of Souths recruit's NRL return

Wighton returns from suspension in round three after missing the Rabbitohs' opening two defeats.

Souths coach Jason Demetriou has tempered expectations around star recruit Jack Wighton after delivering his side a brutal NRL reality check. Wighton has been suspended for South Sydney's opening two games of the season, with the struggling Bunnies suffering back-to-back defeats in his absence.

Demetriou's troops went down 28-18 to a Reece Walsh-inspired Brisbane on Thursday night in a performance the Rabbitohs coach labelled "a horror show". He'll be relishing the return of Wighton for next Friday night's grudge match against fierce rivals the Roosters, with the former Raiders star set to take his place in the centres for Souths after serving his three-game ban from last year.

On the right is Souths coach Jason Demetriou and star recruit Jack Wighton on left.
Souths coach Jason Demetriou says his side needs to cut out the errors for new recruit Jack Wighton to have an impact when he returns to the NRL in round three. Pic: AAP

The World Cup winner and former NSW Origin star will bring a touch of class, direction and steel in defence that has been sorely missing from the Rabbitohs in the opening two rounds. The Rabbitohs' defence has been particularly porous in the first two games, where they leaked six tries against Manly in Las Vegas, before conceding another five in Thursday night's loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

Souths had a completion rate of just 58 per cent against the Broncos and made 16 errors, many of which were completely avoidable and would have left Demetriou fuming. And while the Bunnies coach is eager to see his prized new recruit take to the field for the first time this season against the Roosters in round three, he's warned that even Wighton won't be able to help them if they don't cut out the errors.

Souths coach's truth bomb before Jack Wighton debut

"It is going to be his first game of the year and we are excited to have him make his debut for the club," Demetriou said. "He gives us experience on the edges and some physicality as well so he will be a big 'in' for us.

"But we have to tidy up the dumb things we did (against the Broncos), get rid of the dumb stuff ... otherwise Jack will be doing what the rest of them were tonight and that's tackling."

Demetriou was left annoyed after an error-riddled performance from his side highlighted by mistakes early in sets, poor passing, too many missed tackles and an unnecessary sin bin for Damien Cook in the first half. A complete brain fade that led to the Bunnies being penalised for blockers as they put in an attacking kick completed a diabolical display. "That’s just about the full house of mental mistakes they’ve made in this first half," Fox League commentator Warren Smith said.

Pictured left to right are Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou and star Latrell Mitchell.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou described his side's loss to Brisbane as a 'horror show'. Image: Getty

Following the match, the Rabbitohs coach said the performance was an improvement on round one but still nowhere near good enough and that "schoolboy errors"were costing them dearly. "We're just shooting ourselves in the foot," Demetriou said in his press conference.

"Whether it’s not feeding the scrum properly, or first tackle errors, kicking it into our own player, penalties for blocking - it was a horror show of little things that kept putting pressure on ourselves... We're not going to beat anyone with 56 per cent completions - we’ve got to take ownership of that."


Latrell Mitchell delivers a mixed bag for the Bunnies

Bench utility Siliva Havili scored one try and created another in one of the few bright sparks for the Bunnies, with superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell having a mixed game. He scored a sensational solo try that was little more than a consolation but was also directly at fault for at least one of Brisbane's tries.

At one point in the first half, Mitchell bizarrely chose to toe the ball ahead while trying to clean up a Broncos kick but only succeeded in gifting possession back to Brisbane. He also had an absolute howler with 17 minutes to go and the Rabbitohs were 16-12 down, still very much in the contest.

Jesse Arthurs put in a hopeful kick after the Broncos launched an attack from inside their own half. Mitchell tried to attack the ball and launch a counter from deep inside his own half but completely missed the ball and allowed Walsh to scoop it up and score an easy try.

with AAP