South Sydney's centres of excellence
He mightn't be the biggest name in a star-studded South Sydney side, but Bryson Goodwin has easily been one of their best.
After missing last week's clash with the Sea Eagles through injury, Goodwin is set to make a timely return against the Roosters on the wing in what will be the rival clubs' second local derby in just six weeks.
Goodwin – who played his first three games of the season at centre – has been one of South Sydney's most potent attacking weapons in 2016, scoring three tries, averaging 110 metres a game and taking over the goal-kicking duties in the absence of regular sharpshooter Adam Reynolds.
With 22 tries from 67 appearances in cardinal and myrtle, the 30-year-old has undoubtedly reached peak form at the Bunnies in 2016 and according to Souths coach Michael Maguire it's rubbing off on his younger teammates.
"He's been really good for us, not only on the field, but off the field as well," Maguire said.
"I think he's definitely shown some great leadership around the organisation, along with a number of other players.
"Bryson has really grown into what the club is about and he's really buying in to everything that we do here. To have him coming back from what was just a slight strain – especially the way he's been playing – is great."
Leading into the season, the Kiwis international had played more games for Souths than fellow outside backs Alex Johnston, Aaron Gray and Hymel Hunt combined, and it's that experience that Maguire says has been an invaluable asset for Goodwin's younger teammates.
"He's taken a lot of the younger guys under his wing and helped them along," Maguire said.
"Bryson is an experienced player. He's played a lot of first grade and international footy and he's really showing some outstanding form on the field at the moment. While he's doing that he's helping the younger guys along the way."
Goodwin's move to the wing has opened the door for 2014 premiership-winner Kirisome Auva'a to return to the starting side at left centre.
His inclusion will complete an all family affair in the three-quarter line, with his cousin, Hymel Hunt, set to continue his stunning start to 2016 on the right edge.
The 191cm 22-year-old has filled the void left by Dylan Walker in style, scoring two tries – including one against the Roosters in Round 1 – and averaging 104 metres a game.
But it's his work without the ball that has been most pleasing, with Hunt making more than 20 tackles a game and shutting down countless attacking raids with good reads in defence.
Maguire said the depth in the outside backs had been crucial for the Rabbitohs this year, and is looking forward to what Friday night's new combination will deliver.
"He [Hunt] has been great. Obviously Kirisome had his first game in the centres as well last week so I'm fortunate with a number of players that can roll around in different positions and step up each week," Maguire said.
The Roosters have their own up-and-coming centre to crow about, with Brendan Elliot making the most of his time in first grade.
Filling in for the injured Dale Copley, Elliot was a defensive rock against the Warriors, cutting down Blake Ayshford time and time again.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson says he's pleased with the work Elliot has done without the ball, but wants his young centre to return to the attacking form that saw him score eight tries for the Tricolours in 2015.
"He's had a good couple of weeks in the centres," Robinson said when describing the form of his 22-year-old.
"Obviously with [Dale] Copley having the pec injury and being out for quite a long period of time, it's opened the door for Brendan, and Brendan has had a good start.
"He's had a good defensive start to the last couple of games, and now it's about imposing himself in a bit more attack as well."