Andrew Johns in brutal NRL swipe at Souths amid grim admission from Jason Demetriou

The Rabbitohs' shocking start to the season saw them slump to a third straight defeat.

Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has dropped a brutal truth bomb on struggling Souths after the Rabbitohs were thumped 48-6 by the Roosters to slump to their third straight defeat of the NRL season on Friday night. Coach Jason Demetriou's side went into the match hoping to put a week of drama behind them but merely succeeded in posing more questions about their concerning form.

Latrell Mitchell's expletive-laden interview dominated the build-up to the match, as well as Demetriou's decision to drop halfback Lachlan Ilias after just two games and dump Origin hooker Damien Cook to the bench. Neither change had the desired effect for a Souths side that was thoroughly outplayed and once again had a litany of errors and a second half sin-binning for Mitchell to blame for their heavy defeat.

Pictured left is Andrew Johns and Souths coach Jason Demetriou is on the far right.
Andrew Johns has delivered a truth bomb for Souths and their coach Jason Demetriou. Pic: Getty

The Rabbitohs made 14 errors and missed 33 tackles in a concerning performance from Demetriou's side, with pressure intensifying on the Souths coach. Demetriou insisted after the game that he was the right man to lead the club out of their crisis but admitted the loss to their fierce rivals was "probably the lowest point" in his career.

Just as Demetriou's move to promote Dean Hawkins to halfback for Ilias failed to bear fruit, neither did the call to bench hooker Damien Cook and start with Saliva Havili. In a damning assessment of the match for Channel Nine afterwards, commentator and league legend Johns took aim at the attitude of the Bunnies and said it wouldn't have mattered who played against the Roosters.

"That's the least of their problems - it wouldn't matter who you had in the halves tonight," Johns said on the Nine broadcast. "There's no easy way out. To win a game in the NRL, you've got to build a game early. Another big thing is discipline. First play of the game, Lindsay Collins charges off the kickoff and South Sydney rake at the ball. That gives you an insight into their mindset."

Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker fail to fire for Souths

After spending a week in the headlines, many expected Mitchell to have a huge game to prove the critics wrong but the superstar Rabbitohs fullback failed to get involved and have an impact on the game. Soo too five-eighth Cody Walker, who was expected to step up after the axing of Ilias, with the Souths attack again looking disjointed against the rampant Roosters.

League great Billy Slater echoed the criticism from Johns and said the Rabbitohs stars needed to follow the example set by captain Cam Murray, who was tirelessly brave in a losing battle. "There are no shortcuts back into form," Slater said on Nine. "I think it starts with honesty from individuals within their team and effort. They've got to look at their own performances and collective performances as a team, and find out the effort areas that aren't working."

Seen here, Latrell Mitchell.
Latrell Mitchell was sent to the sin bin to compound another disappointing display from Souths. Pic: Getty

Slater put the spotlight firmly on veteran stars Mitchell and Walker to drive those standards and hold one another to account and suggested the Rabbitohs would only turn their form around when they do so. "It all comes from selflessness and working for the team and it's got to come from your best players," Slater added.

"I look at Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Damien Cook... maybe look at Cam Murray's game and emulate that. If you start competing on every play, that's when you will start turning your form around. There is no easy way out and they've got to look within."


Jason Demetriou says he can turn around Souths' form

The Rabbitohs' third straight defeat to start the season comes after they lost seven of their final 10 games last year to crash out of finals contention. That worrying form has ramped up the pressure on Demetriou as coach but the 48-year-old is adamant he's the right man to turn the club's fortunes around.

"That's my job, it's on me to guide the boys this week and make sure we're fighting hard and getting ready to play (against Canterbury) on Good Friday," he said. "I've been with this group for a long time. I understand the group and I'm confident that we're on the same page and we're working together.

"I've got no doubt I'm the man who can turn it around but ultimately, what I sit here and say makes no difference to what people are going to say. The noise is there. It's there because we're not winning and we're not playing well. The only thing that's going to make a difference is get our training right, get our performance right next week, get some results on the board."

with AAP