Here is all you need to know about the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of the 2022 Telstra Premiership season.
The departure of captain and halfback Adam Reynolds will leave a gaping hole for new coach Jason Demetriou while Origin star Dane Gagai's experience and finishing skills will be sorely missed in the backline. Following Wayne Bennett is like going in to bat after The Don but Demetriou has served his apprenticeship and has the trust of the players and is ready to snare his opportunity as the Bunnies look to go one better in 2022.
Possible best 17
1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Isaiah Tass, 5. Jaxson Paulo, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Blake Taaffe, 8. Tom Burgess, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Tevita Tatola, 11. Jacob Host, 12. Keaon Koloamatangi, 13. Cameron Murray, 14. Jai Arrow, 15. Mark Nicholls, 16. Liam Knight, 17. Siliva Havili/Peter Mamouzelos.
'I know what it takes': Latrell's premiership goal
Reynolds is the key out, with Blake Taaffe or Lachlan Ilias primed to move into the No.7 jersey. Ilias is highly rated, while Taafe excelled somewhat out-of-position at fullback late last year but will vacate the No.1 jersey for Latrell Mitchell's return to the fullback role (in round three). Reynolds' departure is exacerbated by Benji Marshall's retirement. Gagai will also be hard to replace and with Braidon Burns also moving on, a few young guns like Isaiah Tass and Zane Bijorac are vying with the likes of Taane Milne to slot in at centre.
Latrell Mitchell has two more games to serve on his suspension which creates a bit of a headache if Taaffe is indeed earmarked for the No.7 jersey. Cam Murray (shoulder surgery) should be fit for round one while Josh Mansour (knee) should also be available, though likely now behind Jaxson Paulo in the pecking order.
Biggest question mark
There are questions at halfback and the centres while the bench is wide open. While Taaffe is likely to partner Cody Walker, Ilias is also in the frame. Peter Mamouzelos remains Damien Cook's understudy but could begin to command bench time in first grade where he will jostle with the likes of Milford and recruits Michael Chee Kam and Siliva Havili.
It's a big first fortnight on the travel front for Souths, who start with Brisbane at Suncorp then the Storm at AAMI Park. Then it's back to Sydney for back-to-back blockbusters against the Roosters (at home) and a bus trip west to face grand final rivals Penrith.
It doesn't get tougher than that three-game burst from rounds two to four, although the final month is no pushover either with the Eels, Panthers, Cowboys then Roosters to finish the regular season off.
Make it count
The whole eight weeks from round five through to Origin should provide some opportunities for Souths to bank some wins, with Manly the only 2021 finalists in those eight games, which also includes the Tigers twice plus Dragons, Bulldogs, Broncos, Warriors and Raiders.
NRL Fantasy: Rabbitohs 2022 prices
Damien Cook: HOK, $767,000
Cameron Murray: MID, $749,000
Latrell Mitchell: WFB, $671,000
Cody Walker: HLF, $631,000
Keaon Koloamatangi: MID/EDG, $621,000
Jai Arrow: MID, $554,000
Thomas Burgess: MID, $546,000
Alex Johnston: WFB, $519,000
Josh Mansour: WFB, $504,000
Campbell Graham: CTR, $503,000
Tevita Tatola: MID, $480,000
Mark Nicholls: MID, $476,000
Peter Mamouzelos: HOK, $400,000
Jacob Host: EDG, $392,000
Taane Milne: CTR/WFB, $381,000
Hame Sele: MID, $380,000
Liam Knight: MID, $368,000
Michael Chee-Kam: EDG, $358,000
Blake Taaffe: HLF/WFB, $330,000
Jaxson Paulo: WFB, $327,000
Lachlan Ilias: HLF, $300,000
Siliva Havili: HOK, $283,000
Jed Cartwright: EDG, $240,000
Davvy Moale: MID, $220,000
Zane Bijorac: CTR, $220,000
Terrell Kalo Kalo: WFB, $220,000
Isiah Tass: CTR, $220,000