Wests Tigers victory raises questions over commitment of South Sydney Rabbitohs

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire described his team's performance against the Wests Tigers as 'garbage', labelling the loss as the worst in his time at the club.

Maguire insists it's time for some hard truths after the Rabbitohs slumped to four straight losses with a humiliating performance against the Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.

The Rabbitohs were jeered by their own fans after giving up a 20-point head start in the loss to the Wests Tigers that equalled the longest losing streak at the club in the Maguire regime.

"The players' attitudes, we need to sort that out very quickly," a frustrated Maguire said.

"Because if we keep letting in simple tries like that we are going to stay in the same place. I thought our defence was very ordinary tonight. Very ordinary. Our players, I don't normally make comment about it, but we need to make sure we're a lot better than that otherwise we're going to stay in exactly the same place we are right now.

"That first 20 minutes was not acceptable at this club. Myself and the players, we need to make sure we're accountable for what we put out there because it was garbage, really. People just didn't want to put their bodies on the line, it's plain and simple."

After a 60-6 thumping at the hands of Canberra last week that saw questions asked over the long-term future of coach Jason Taylor, the Tigers produced a stunning turn of form to rack up a 30-22 victory and apply the blowtorch to Maguire and his men.

This was a game they had no right to win. A game that was meant to provide the Rabbitohs with the confidence boost to reignite their season. Instead, it has the potential to derail it.

A shocking first half from the Rabbitohs angered South Sydney fans, who booed their team as they fell 20 points behind inside 21 minutes, but not even a resurgence in the second half could prevent them from slumping to their sixth loss in seven games.

Asked if he'd seen such a poor performance in his time at the club, Maguire said: "No I haven't, no".

"We have to have a good hard look at ourselves. The players, myself, all the team - we're all in this together. How we get through this is by being pretty honest and brutal with what's going on out on the field there."

The talk in the pre-season was all about how the coach had lost the support of the playing group, but back-to-back wins to open the season quickly silenced the critics.

Boiling point: Sam Burgess exchanges pleasantries with David Nofoaluma. Photo: Cameron Spencer

Boiling point: Sam Burgess exchanges pleasantries with David Nofoaluma. Photo: Cameron Spencer

However, the out-of-sorts Rabbitohs look anything like happy campers, with their stars carrying injuries and the rest of the troops struggling to reach the intensity needed to win games of football in the NRL.

After 10 minutes the Rabbitohs had registered 10 missed tackles, with the Tigers doing to South Sydney what Canberra did to them just five days earlier.

The Wests Tigers took the precautionary measure of resting NSW-bound fullback James Tedesco after halftime, struggling with a shoulder injury he picked up in the opening 40.

Even without starting props Aaron Woods and Tim Grant, the young Tigers pack made South Sydney's defence look second rate, easing the pressure on Taylor and his young side.

"We brought all of that pressure on ourselves by a performance that was absolutely not good enough last week and we take that pressure straight away with a win, and it was in such a great fashion," Taylor said.

"I am really excited about how we won that game. It was a really tough performance that was a really strong win in the circumstances and there was plenty going against us. There was a real pride in our performance, when you lose like we did that comes out."

The Tigers were on the board inside five minutes through Tedesco, who was judged by the bunker to have simultaneously grounded a grubber kick with Adam Reynolds, providing the attacking team with four points.

The Tigers fullback turned provider a few minutes later with a cut-out pass that provided Jordan Rankin with a clear path to the tryline to give Taylor's men a 10-0 advantage after 12 minutes.

Tries to Luke Brooks and Kevin Naiqama extended the visitors' lead to 20 points in 21 minutes before the Rabbitohs hit back on the stroke of half time through Kirisome Auva'a.

South Sydney didn't waste any time reducing the deficit even further after the break, with Bryson Goodwin cleaning up a David Nofoaluma fumble to make it an eight-point game.

The margin was brought to two a few minutes later when a sweeping backline play allowed Dane Nielsen to score his first try in South Sydney colours, setting up a mouth-watering final 30 minutes.

However South Sydney's momentum came to a grinding halt when Rankin beat Inglis in a race to Luke Brooks grubber and Nofoaluma crossed out wide to give the Tigers a 12 point buffer with 15 minutes remaining.

Goodwin crossed with seven minutes to go but Reynolds was unable to land a sideline conversion that would have left the Tigers with a nervous final few minutes given their recent misfortune in close finishes.

This story NRL Round 9: Thursday's game | photos first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.