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Rabbitohs back-rower Keaon Koloamatangi.

It's taken Keaon Koloamatangi 15 NRL games to crack South Sydney's run-on team and the rising second-rower has no plans to return to the bench after this Saturday.

With coach Wayne Bennett demoting Jacob Host to the NSW Cup after round one's 28-16 loss to Melbourne, Koloamatangi will start for the first time on the left edge against Manly at Lottoland.

"I've been working my arse off for the last couple of months to get this shot. I'm glad that I got this opportunity and I just don't want to waste it and let the boys and Wayne down," the 22-year-old told NRL.com.

"I know what I'm capable of and I'm looking forward to the challenge ... [I'm aiming] to get out 80 minutes because I want to be a good back-rower in the game and all the top dogs play 80 minutes."

The ruthless manner in which Bennett dropped Host after his Rabbitohs debut means Koloamatangi is aware that he must aim up.

"I thought [Host] was a solid player. Everyone in this team deserves a spot, but obviously, it's up to Wayne," he said.

Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs - Round 2

"It just shows that after one game, the team can change. That puts some pressure on me; I could be gone next week if I have a bad game. That's good; I have the pressure on me helping me be a better player.

"Wayne doesn't care [about reputation]. All you've got to do is perform on the field [to stay in the team]. He's not shy to put different people in and give people a new shot. He keeps everyone on edge and keeps everyone playing their best and training their best."

Koloamatangi has offloading and ball-playing skills in his arsenal, but he intends to "keep it simple" for the clash with the Sea Eagles by building his game on the foundations of running and tackling hard.

He'll play outside dynamic five-eighth Cody Walker and is confident they'll strike up a strong combination.

"It'll take time, but we've trained most of the pre-season together, so we know what we're both about. I know what Cody likes and what he likes in a back-rower. I've talked to him," the forward said.

While Manly are coming off a 46-4 flogging at the hands of the Roosters, Koloamatangi is wary of a wounded bird striking out.

"They're a solid team, they've got great players - international players - and I have no doubt it'll be a slugfest out there, especially with the rain [predicted on Saturday evening]," he said.

"They've got some big boys and I can't wait to go up against them."

 

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