The Rabbitohs will go into arguably their two toughest tests of the season without a string of key players.
The Rabbitohs will go into arguably their three toughest tests of the season without a string of key players, after the club confirmed that four starters from Thursday’s win would be spending time on the sidelines.
Captain Adam Reynolds, Origin rep Cam Murray and outside backs Campbell Graham and Jaxson Paulo will not feature this week against the Melbourne Storm.
It will be a re-match of Round One, where Souths suffered their only loss of the season to date.
Reynolds will have a surgical review on his injured thumb scheduled for today, but is expected to miss the next few games.
It’s a grade two syndesmosis injury for Murray, who won’t require surgery and should be back in about a month – putting his spot in the NSW team for the State of Origin opener up in the air.
Graham and Paulo both suffered hand injuries during the win over Canberra, the former having surgery on Friday to put a plate in his hand, missing a month as well.
Paulo fractured his scaphoid and will undergo a procedure on Tuesday to stabilise his thumb with a pin. He could be out for up to two months.
It’s brutal timing for the Bunnies, who remain without the suspended Latrell Mitchell for the next two weeks – a Magic Round date with the Sharks following this week’s blockbuster.
Thankfully, they will have Mitchell back for a trip to Dubbo the following week against the undefeated Panthers, but will more than likely be without all four of the injured quartet, and a clash with second-placed Parramatta the following week.
It’s expected that Alex Johnston will move to fullback with Cody Walker returning to the halves to partner Benji Marshall.
With Josh Mansour still out as well, Braidon Burns is one name that has been put in the frame to take that open spot in the backline, having gotten through a return in NSW Cup unscathed.
Tautau Moga, Stephen Marsters and Dean Hawkins are others who could be back in the first grade picture for Wayne Bennett’s team this week.
The Rabbitohs have been flying high with seven wins on the bounce, and will likely be back to full strength after their bye week, when they play the Knights on June 12.