Souths' left edge confident in retaining spots
Rabbitohs' left-edge combination, winger Aaron Gray and centre Bryson Goodwin, have expressed their confidence in holding their place in first grade despite the impending return of Kirisome Auva'a.
With Auva'a slated to return from a nine-month suspension in time for the Rabbitohs' Round 23 clash against North Queensland on August 13, both Gray and Goodwin – both being happy to see him return to playing – were otherwise focused on their own performances.
Gray, who made his NRL debut in Round 8 scoring seven tries in 10 games, said he hasn't looked into Auva'a's return, adding nothing changes for him considering he is already fighting to keep his "dream spot" in the Rabbitohs first grade side with Joel Reddy, John Olive and Sam Manuleleua already in NSW Cup.
Auva'a, who played 21 games in his one and only season in the NRL last year, has been playing NSW Cup with the North Sydney Bears of late, though is currently suspended.
"I'm looking forward to seeing 'Some' coming back and adding to the team but mostly I'm just looking to perform the best I can each week," Gray told NRL.com.
"If Some comes back into the team I'll be happy for him. I just have to keep being on my toes because really there are a lot of boys in NSW Cup who are really good first-graders so it's a matter of just playing good footy.
"I love it at the moment. I just have to keep playing good footy and stay out there. I've been pretty happy with my form. I still have a lot of things to work on out on the wing there but I'm trying to improve week by week."
While Goodwin should be most concerned, after missing out on playing in the Rabbitohs' 2014 grand final triumph with Auva'a playing left centre instead, the former Kiwi international wasn't fussed by the 23-year-old's return.
Playing every game this season so far, Goodwin is averaging 108.4 metres and 2.8 tackle breaks per appearance in 2015 and said he trusts coach Michael Maguire to do what's in the best interests of the club as they look to become the first back-to-back premiers in a unified competition since the 1992-93 Broncos.
"I'm pretty happy with how I'm going. It's a matter of keeping it rolling now and doing my best for the team," Goodwin told NRL.com.
"I haven't really thought about [Kirisome] coming back. If I keep playing well then I should be in the team so I'm not worried about it."