The Eels have officially ruled out winger Blake Ferguson 24 hours before their semi-final against the Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium.
With left-side flanker Maika Sivo already gone for the year with an MCL injury, the Eels were sweating on their right-edge winger overcoming a knee injury but after Ferguson sat out training earlier in the week the club has made the call and brought veteran centre Brad Takairangi into the line-up.
Takairangi is set to line up at right centre with Waqa Blake shifting out to the wing and George Jennings replacing Maika Sivo on the left to make an all-Jennings left edge alongside brother Michael.
Coach Brad Arthur spoke on Thursday about the side's leaky edge defence and while the Eels will miss Ferguson's punch coming out of yardage, the steadying influence of Takairangi at centre could actually help alleviate their edge woes in defence.
There was talk of up-and-comer Haze Dunster making his NRL debut in a semi-final but the 21-year-old winger joined Takairangi in being omitted from the squad in the 24-hour list.