Siosifa Talakai scores against the Dragons in the Charity Shield.

I deserved to be dropped: Talakai

Rabbitohs centre Sifa Talakai says he fully supports his coach's decision to drop him after a below-par effort in Round 1 and used his week in the Intrust Super Premiership to build his confidence back up.

The Rabbitohs were poor across the board in a big Round 1 loss to Wests Tigers but Talakai was the man to pay the price for the club's right edge coming up with some poor reads and the 19-year-old Mascot junior believes it was warranted.

 


He now hopes to grab the second chance – afforded to him by a four-week suspension to first-string centre Hymel Hunt – to show he belongs in the top grade.

That got off to a slightly shaky start with a couple of poor edge reads on that flank allowing Roosters tries in Thursday night's loss but Talakai hopes for a big improvement in Townsville this Friday.

"Just me and our right edge in particular need to get our heads around our 'D' and just be on the same page," Talakai bluntly told NRL.com this week.

"We haven't really defended much together, we're working on our edge 'D' and our combination between Adam Reynolds, myself and Siti (winger Sitiveni Moceidreke)."

While it can be difficult to build combinations given the frequent injury- and suspension-forced changes (Hunt, Greg Inglis and Braidon Burns have all come and gone through injury and suspension in the opening rounds), the squad have trained as a whole all pre-season so there are no excuses.

"If you're new and coming into the team I guess it can be [difficult to gel] but everyone's on the same page, we're all sweet, it's a matter of our performance and turning up," he said.

Talakai is frank when asked if he was surprised to be dropped after just one game – one in which he produced seven tackle busts and 163 metres.

"I'd be lying if I said I was surprised," he said.

"To be very honest I didn't think I was up to scratch after Round 1. The decision 'Madge' (Maguire) made, I was all by it. I really thought it was the right move, I had to fix my own game up."

And it wasn't just his defence after the Tigers put a couple of tries down the Rabbitohs' right edge.

"Not really, it was my whole game in general," he said.

"I still have a lot to improve on and a lot to give or to show. I thought Madge sending me down to the NSW Cup team was a really good move, just helped me up my game and really find a feel for what I could be doing and should be doing.

"It was a big confidence booster for myself. I felt really good to be running out there with the Bears boys, I've got a lot of mates that play there, everyone's good mates from the North Sydney Bears. I played a few games last year and played a few 20s games with some players from the Bears too. It was good to see a few old mates and play with them again."

With Hunt due back in Round 8 and injured centre Aaron Gray not long after, Talakai could be using the current run as a chance to cement himself but he's not looking at it that way.

"I try not to look ahead of myself. I'd rather focus on the week and the game I've got to play on the week and the performance I need to cement my spot in the team," he said.