Rabbitohs and Fiji hooker Apisau Koroisau, in action during this year's trials, could challenge for Issac Luke's starting spot this year. Copyright: Colin Whelan/NRL Photos.
The Rabbitohs were meant to be left reeling after losing their tough-as-nails, New Zealand representative hooker Issac Luke for anywhere between four and 10 weeks with a shoulder problem.

Instead, Australian Test superstar Greg Inglis reckons debutant replacement Apisai Koroisau will make it tough for Luke to regain his spot.

Stepping into the NRL cauldron for the first time is undeniably a nerve-wracking experience but Koroisau, 21, has an ace up his sleeve ahead of facing Canberra on Sunday – last year’s World Cup.

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Representing Fiji with the likes of Petero Civoniceva, the Sims brothers and Akuila Uate, Koroisau managed to play four of his country’s five World Cup matches in the UK late last year – including two games against the Kangaroos.  Averaging a respectable 24.3 tackles and 49 metres from the bench during the tournament, Koroisau faced the best players in the game and signalled his intentions to go one step further in the NRL.

"We had a glimpse of what he can do in the World Cup last season for Fiji. He’s well capable of filling that [hooker] role and he’s a talented young player and there’s no doubt about that but I think he’s going to send a few shockwaves and put pressure on Issac to be honest," Inglis said.

"We’ve just been working that combination with the new guy coming in. He’s been in our system for two years now, so I know how he works. He’s just got to work with our halves and obviously I’ll just filter in there.

"They’ve got different games [Koroisau and Luke] but like I said, he’s going to put a lot of pressure on Issac when he gets back."

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Rabbitohs and Queensland back-rower Chris McQueen, himself on the comeback trail from an ankle injury, believes Koroisau will handle the occasion.

"Api’s been in our squad for a couple of years. Played for Fiji in the World Cup and went really well over there too. He knows our structures ... he knows his job and he knows how to handle himself out there, so I think he’s going to fit straight in," McQueen said.

"Api’s probably a little bit different [than Luke]. He’s pretty quick and he’s good with the ball in his hand so I think he’ll bring in his own twist for us."

Playmaker Dylan Walker, who played several seasons with Koroisau in the NYC, knows better than most how the debutant will perform when the Rabbitohs play the Raiders at ANZ Stadium."

He’s his own style of player. It’s always exciting to play with a player you’ve played with before. I’m just excited for him as well because he’s making his debut game," Walker said.

"Everyone believes he can do the job there. Me and [Api] can work together. He can work the squad and everything in the team."

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