Can Rabbitohs go the distance this season?
SOUTH Sydney will have to prove itself the most complete side in 56 years if it wants to sweep through 2015 unbeaten, as some critics suggest it can following three dominant wins to open the club's NRL premiership defence.
Bookmakers are offering $34 about the Rabbitohs being the first side since the mighty St George Dragons in 1959 to go through a season without a loss, that achievement coming during a world record run of 11 consecutive premierships between 1956-66.
Only six teams have recorded unbeaten seasons in 107 years, Souths being one of those back in 1925
Balmain was the first team to go through a season without losing a game in 1915, followed by Norths in 1921 and Souths in '25. East then took it to another level, having back-to-back unbeaten seasons in 1935 and 36, with the all-conquering Dragons being the last team to achieve the feat in 1959.
Those teams were all non-professional, and some of the seasons were a lot shorter than today's arduous schedule of 24 rounds, not to mention State of Origin and a Test match or two thrown into the mix.
It could be done, but it would take a superhuman effort, with few injuries and even less suspensions.
South Sydney has already lost glamour centre Dylan Walker with a fractured hand for a month, and a long-term injury to a player like Greg Inglis would be a huge blow.
But the Rabbits have ignited the debate by thrashing Brisbane, out-muscling the Roosters and playing below their best but still proving too classy for the much-improved Wests Tigers.
You have to go back 20 years to find a team that even got a sniff of an unbeaten season.
That was Manly in 1995. The boys from Brookvale won their first 15 games before being beaten by the Roosters, or Sydney City as the club was then known.
The Sea Eagles won 20 of their 22 games that season, but lost the grand final to the Bulldogs who had won only 14 regular-season matches.
Meanwhile Sportsbet believes the Titans will be the last team to win an NRL game in 2015, quoting them at $1.80, ahead of the Cowboys at $3.25 and Sharks at $4, who play the Gold Coasters this weekend. On the judiciary front, at least four players - Shaun Fenson (Canberra - one week), Ben Barba (Sharks - two weeks), Pat Richards (Wests Tigers - one week) and Korbin Sims (Newcastle - two weeks) - will spend time on the sidelines if they make early guilty pleas to charges from the weekend.