Reformed Auva’a back for Bunnies
SOUTH Sydney centre Kirisome Auva’a is expected to end his 312-day exile from the NRL against North Queensland tomorrow night.
Auva’a pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury to his ex-girlfriend during an incident in Melbourne at the start of last year.
He was suspended by the NRL late last year, completed several courses, returned to the NSW Cup last month, but remained barred from playing in the top flight until now.
Auva’a flew to Townsville yesterday with his Bunnies teammates and has been named by coach Michael Maguire on an extended bench.
But the 23-year-old will be promoted to the starting side and given the job of helping reignite the Rabbitohs’ attack.
“He’s worked hard in the background on all areas of what he needs to do, and he’s ready if the opportunity arises,’’ Maguire said.
“I’ve been extremely impressed with his attitude.”
The premiers were kept to just one try during last Friday’s loss to Manly. A repeat performance against the Cowboys will see them tumble out of the NRL four just three weeks out from the finals.
When Souths run out tomorrow night, six of their back seven will be the same players who belted Canterbury in the grand final. Winger Lote Tuqiri is now retired.
Centre Bryson Goodwin or winger Aaron Gray will make way for Auva’a.
Kyle Turner also returns for Souths after missing last weekend’s trip to Brookvale Oval.
Turner was knocked out in his comeback game from neck surgery a week earlier, and Maguire said the backrower was almost a late starter against Manly.