Roosters brace for Souths bashing unless they lift
Luke Keary has conceded the Sydney Roosters won't stand a chance against South Sydney unless they lift dramatically for their grudge match.
The Roosters and Rabbitohs both enter Friday night's Allianz Stadium showdown with one win and one loss this year, but the players are well aware it is not a true reflection of where both clubs stand.
Souths were particularly impressive against Cronulla in the opening round, and rallied late on an emotional night against Penrith last Thursday.
In contrast the Roosters were shock losers to the Dolphins in round one, and survived a late scare against the Warriors on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.
"They are going a lot better than us at the moment," Keary admitted.
"They are playing some real good footy. We're going to have to be real good Friday.
"That's not going to be good enough on Friday. We're going to have to be better."
Asked if he was playing mind games ahead of Friday, Keary was adamant the Roosters had significant ground to make up.
"I think any person who watched footy can watch how teams are going at the moment," he said. "It's not rocket science.
"They're going well, that team have been together for a while. They just look like they have carried on from last year. It's going to be a real challenge for us."
Keary is, however, confident the Roosters can strike the right balance between playing with emotion and playing with control.
The likes of captain James Tedesco have admitted they became too caught up in their wild encounter during last year's finals, where seven players were sin-binned across both teams and three were concussed.
It came after similar scenes in March 2021, when the Roosters sought retribution on Jai Arrow for an ugly State of Origin moment with James Tedesco and walked away 26-16 losers.
Keary remains of the belief last year's loss was as much about failing to respond to early injuries as it was the emotion of the game, but said players were well aware it could not happen again.
"We don't need to talk about it. We took our lessons from that," Keary said.
"We've had a few against them now where we've hurt ourselves. We have addressed that. We won't talk about it in the lead up to the game.
"As a group we feel like we have grown from those experiences.
"We're still going to play with emotion, both teams will. Both clubs always will. But there is a line there and we know we can't cross it."