South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold won’t risk rushing Greg Inglis back for next Thursday night's match against the Broncos to cover for the loss of fullback Alex Johnston with a hamstring injury.
Johnston, who has a history of hamstring problems, limped from the field in the third minute of Friday night’s 18-14 loss to Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium and Seibold admitted he would not recover in time for the trip to Brisbane.
Dane Gagai shifted to fullback in Johnston’s absence, with back-rower Tyrell Fuimaono coming off the interchange bench to play centre in just his third NRL match of the season after a long layoff with injury.
Seibold said he had few other options for the Broncos clash so it's expected Gagai will retain the job.
Inglis had been due back next weekend but after a visit to his surgeon on Thursday the Rabbitohs captain is likely to delay his return from the broken thumb he suffered in the round 16 match against North Queensland.
"We are hopeful Greg is back next week, [but] he had his visit to the surgeon yesterday and he may miss another week," Seibold said.
"I am not going to risk him. We have got ourselves in a really strong position and if the surgeon thinks he needs another week that is what we will do."
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Roosters - Round 22, 2018
Seibold was pleased with the effort of his players, if not their execution in attack, and pointed out that the Rabbitohs were without Inglis, wingers Campbell Graham (wrist) and Robert Jennings (hamstring), while utility Adam Doueihi (knee) is out for the season.
Gagai has not trained at fullback during the season but will now have several sessions in the position ahead of the match against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
"We are under the pump a bit with our outside backs so we don't have too many options to be fair," Seibold said.
"Gags hasn't done any reps all season at fullback and young Tyrell, we pulled him up two days ago and he hasn't trained with us for months.
"For him to do a good job on Latrell Mitchell … that's why I am really proud of the effort of the guys tonight."
With both teams scoring two tries apiece, three penalty goals by Mitchell proved the difference but Seibold said he would welcome the opportunity to play the Roosters again during the finals.
"Our effort areas of the game were extremely high. I was proud of the effort the guys put in and their intent," he said. "The Roosters have won 10 of their last 11 games and we really tested them.
"I think they struggled to handle us when we went through the middle of the park. I think everyone saw that the game was in the balance there right at the end.
"If we get an opportunity to play them again we will try to build some pressure and see if they can handle us."