BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs is congratulated by team mates after scoring a try during the round seven NRL match between the Dolphins and South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium on April 13, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Following their 28-12 Magic Round win over the Melbourne Storm, I took the ridiculous risk in proclaiming that South Sydney are now premiership favourites.

I know, I know! Declaring the club sitting second on the ladder and one containing three Origin representative players in their spine as title heavyweights is hardly an earth shattering statement, but it's one I very much stand by.

So much so that I'm officially doubling down on it right now.

Following ten rounds of NRL action in 2023 we currently have two sides standing head and shoulders above the rest - the Broncos and the aforementioned Bunnies.

I'd argue that the Panthers, despite their five and four record, are also in a great position. They're the best defensive side in the competition.

Throw in the free-scoring Sharks, the expectation defying Dolphins and the competition's best side on paper, the Roosters, and this competition looks wide open.

That said, despite sitting a win behind the Broncos on the NRL ladder, the Bunnies sit as comfortably the team to beat.

Souths sit seven wins and just the three losses and sit as just one of seven teams yet to enjoy the bye.

This despite playing only the three games at home at Accor Stadium. Full disclosure they did win an "away" game at the same venue.

Currently the Bunnies have scored the fourth highest amount of points whilst conceding the second fewest amount of points.

Simply put, the Bunnies are absolutely flying right now!

Latrell Mitchell is the game's most destructive player and seems to be able to turn it on at any time. He has been breathtaking across the past month where the Bunnies beat the Dolphins, Panthers, Broncos and Storm.

NRL Rd 2 - Panthers v Rabbitohs
PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs looks on during the round two NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at BlueBet Stadium on March 09, 2023 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cody Walker is breathing fire. He's currently leading the try assists tally with 12. He also has 13 line-break assists, 4 forced drop outs and 7 tries of his own.

Campbell Graham is performing at such a high level that pundits are seriously considering moving Tom Trbojevic onto the wing for the Blues for Origin 1.

Alex Johnston simply cannot stop scoring while Isaiah Tass and Taane Milne are playing well beyond their years and experience.

Throw in a seemingly born again Tom Burgess, the eternally consistent Cam Murray and the criminally underrated Lachlan Ilias and this side is ridiculous!

This despite an injury toll that could match anyone other than the Bulldogs.

Keaon Koloamatangi was rampaging toward an Origin debut prior to his long-term injury. Liam Knight has only just returned to football following a horror ACL injury late season himself.

Tevita Tatola has only been available for half the Bunnies games this season. So too Jai Arrow.

Shaquai Mitchell was very quickly making a name for himself in the opening two and a bit games prior to being forced out for two months.

Not once this season have the Bunnies been able to run out their preferred forward pack.

Of course injuries are always going to be a part of the game, and every side is effected at some stage, but the way the Bunnies have continued to win has to be admired.

Across the opening ten weeks of the competition they've played the Sharks, Roosters, Panthers (twice), Storm (also twice), Manly, the Dogs, Dolphins and Brisbane.

You tell any side they're going to win seven of those very difficult fixtures and I can guarantee they'll jump at it.

Especially considering the dream run of fixtures they enjoy over and following the Origin period.

Over the next five weeks the Bunnies play the Tigers, Eels, Raiders, Titans, Dragons before enjoying the week off.

They then face the Cowboys, Warriors, and Dogs before their second bye of the season.

The Eels and Titans shape as the most tricky fixtures for the high flying Bunnies prior to a Round 21 clash with the Broncos.

From there only the Sharks and the Roosters dawn as looking difficult.

No disrespect to the other sides of course but as it stands the Bunnies would be very confident in winning a large majority, if not all of those fixtures.

With the Bunnies certain to lose Latrell Mitchell, Damian Cook, and Cameron Murray to Origin, as well as likely Jai Arrow, Campbell Graham and Tevita Tatola, any opportunity to rest players is worth its weight in gold.

NRL Rd 16 - Eels v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Tevita Tatola of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 16 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on August 27, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Seemingly "easier" fixtures are absolutely available in the coming weeks. Prior and following Origin to boot.

With Keaon Koloamatangi (due to return in a month or so) starring both out wide and in the middle and Tom Burgess available throughout the entire rep period, Souths are in good stead to reduce minutes for their star forwards.

Going through the remaining fixtures, catastrophe aside, I can't see a way the Bunnies don't finish comfortably in the top four.

In fact a quick run though a ladder projector has the Bunnies winning the Minor Premiership.

Of course upsets, injuries or drop offs in form can strike but this squad is too strong and Jason Demetriou is too good a coach to let the standards slip.

Could this be the year that the Bunnies finally end their run of defeats in the Preliminary Finals/Grand Final?

Unless the Broncos, Sharks or Roosters find their very top, and consistent form, or the Panthers hit their straps in attack, it's hard to see a whole lot standing in their way.

There is a long way to go but as it stands, here in early May, the Bunnies look set for a very special 2023.