South Sydney coach Craig Coleman believes the NZ Warriors can win the National Rugby League premiership after the Auckland-based side wiped the Rabbitohs off the park on Saturday night with a 46-10 victory at Aussie Stadium.
"I've said that from day one that they can (win the premiership)," said Coleman, whose side has now lost eight of its past nine matches.
"They're big right across the park, they've got tremendous skills and they can all run - from the fullback to the front-rowers.
"When they get in that mood and start getting a few off-loads on you, they can certainly make you pay for it."
Rampaging second-rower Ali Lauiti'iti made the Rabbitohs pay in bucket-loads after scoring a 13th minute try.
He laid the platform for the likes of skipper Stacey Jones and hooker PJ Marsh to find holes in the defence, particularly on the right-hand side of the field where winger Justin Brooker missed several crucial tackles.
"He's a big boy and hard to tackle when he gets in that frame of mind," Warriors coach Daniel Anderson said.
"I don't think there's too many Alis around. I'm trying to find them but there is a lot of talent around (New Zealand), there's no doubt that."
Anderson said the club was trying not to think about winning its inaugural premiership after passing the halfway mark of the competition.
"Our aim is just to squash any complacency that may creep into us from thinking too far ahead so we still want to think week-to-week and give respect to the opposition, otherwise teams will sting you," he said.
The only downside from the victory was the reporting of Warriors prop Jerry Seuseu for a high shot on his opposite number Paul Stringer in the 66th minute.
The Warriors, who remain undefeated in Australia this season, have now extended their winning streak to eight matches and cemented their third spot on the ladder.
Souths crossed the line six times tonight but only came up with two tries - to Brooker and fullback Andrew King during the final 13 minutes - after video referee Chris Ward disallowed four earlier "tries".
Coleman, who this week introduced a new halves pairing in Wade McKinnon and Brad Watts, foreshadowed more changes to his side after this eight-tries-to-two caning.
"I'll tell you one thing - reputations will mean nothing," Coleman said.
The Warriors raced to a 24-0 halftime lead following a brilliant individual try to Marsh and further four-pointers to Lauiti'iti, Henry Fa'afili and Justin Murphy.
Second half tries to Mark Tookey (44th minute), Justin Morgan (50th) and Fa'afili (57th) enabled the visitors to skip to a 40-0 lead before Souths centre Russell Richardson set up Brooker for his four-pointer.
The margin was extended seven minutes from fulltime when Ivan Cleary - who collected a personal haul of 18 points tonight - stood up fullback Andrew King to score a try.
King scored a late try for the Rabbitohs, despite what looked like a double movement, to make the final score 46-10.