Rabbitohs coach 'has taken pressure off' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rabbitohs coach 'has taken pressure off'

By Steve Jancetic 06/04/2010 06:13:26 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney centre Beau Champion claims veteran mentor John Lang has changed a climate which had Rabbitohs players fearing for their positions on a weekly basis under former coach Jason Taylor.

Crediting Lang's confidence in his players as the basis for Monday night's stunning 38-16 NRL win over Canterbury, Champion noted differences from his time under Taylor, who was sacked following an incident with backrower David Fa'alogo at the club's end of season get-together late last year.

"I personally didn't feel that JT had that much confidence in us," said Champion, who bagged his third try-scoring double in as many weeks against the Bulldogs.

"I don't think he believed in us that much and he tried to baby us a little bit too much.

"John Lang came in this year and gave us freedom.

"It's not like every week you have to go out and worry about your spot.

"Langy came up at the start of the season and said you and Besty (Colin Best) are going to be the two centres, go out there and show us what you can do.

"It just took the pressure off to let you concentrate on football without having to worry about if I do this or I do that my spot's up for grabs.

"It gives the boys a lot of confidence around you too.

"We started the season off a bit slowly but Langy didn't make changes whereas in the past one or two guys might have got dropped and it can cause a little bit of friction, a little bit of disbelief in players."

Lang had every reason to tinker with his squad after the Rabbitohs failed to live up to the pre-season hype with back-to-back defeats to open the 2010 campaign.

His perseverance was rewarded with a gritty win over Cronulla before Monday night's breakout performance against the Bulldogs in which the forwards, in particular English recruit Sam Burgess, rumbled and the backs sizzled in a seven tries to three romp.

Champion said the pressure was now on to back up that performance against Newcastle on Saturday night - something the Rabbitohs struggled to do in 2009.

"We played too negative last year - there was just times where we'd play really good and then a week later we'd come out and play really, really poorly because of some things we looked at during the week," Champion said.

"We just lacked a little bit of belief in ourselves. It was like everyone thought it was a fluke or something (when we won), but it was no fluke.

"We just went out and played football, we played what was in front of us and that's what Langy wants us to do.

"That's how a team's got to be run, you've got to have belief in your players and you've got to put the emphasis on your players to do that, not be told `you've got to do this, you've got to do that."

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