NRL 2022: Jason Demetriou reveals when key personnel will return for depleted Rabbitohs

It’s been a difficult stretch on the injury front, but South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou doesn’t need the help of his predecessor Wayne Bennett as he grapples with an injury crisis.

Jason Demetriou insists now is not the time to panic.

The South Sydney coach doesn’t feel the need to pick up the phone and reach out to predecessor Wayne Bennett for advice.

He won’t be chopping and changing his squad in search of answers.

The cavalry will be back soon — it could even start this weekend with the potential return of captain Cameron Murray and veteran prop Mark Nicholls — and things will turn.

“We can only play the cards we are dealt and unfortunately we are losing key players,” Demetriou said.

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Matthew Timoko and his teammates have endured a tough run with injuries this season. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Matthew Timoko and his teammates have endured a tough run with injuries this season. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

“There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel .. over the next few weeks. All we can do is get the bodies back and keep going again next week.

“Our playmakers have been under more pressure than most because of the blokes we have been missing in the middle third.

“Latrell (Mitchell) has been out for a long time. Losing Mark Nicholls in round four — Cam has been injured the last couple of weeks.

“It has not been ideal but we have to battle through it, show some resilience this week and start getting some bodies back after the bye round.”

Murray is likely to be named to play the Wests Tigers on Saturday afternoon pending a check on his injured shoulder later in the week. Nicholls hasn’t played since injuring his ankle against Penrith earlier in the year but is expected to take his place against the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Mitchell is making steady progress in America, where he is working under the watchful eye of noted trainer Bill Knowles.

South Sydney captain Cameron Murray could be an inclusion this weekend.
South Sydney captain Cameron Murray could be an inclusion this weekend.

Demetriou always expected to face some challenges when he took over from Bennett at Souths. He vowed to do it his way and he insists there is no need to reach out to the seven-time premiership winner for advice as the Rabbitohs struggle to find some consistency.

Asked whether he had been in communication with Bennett, Demetriou said: “No. I have some pretty good staff in and around the place and if I need to, I will ring Wayne but Wayne is not going to get me bodies back.

“We were in this same position around this time of the year and we got two 50-point hidings with similar blokes missing from the team.

‘We need to knuckle down. I am not panicking at all. I know the quality of the team we have in the change room and I am excited when we get them all back together.

“I am confident that in our second half of the season, we will get some momentum for sure.”

Arguably no player has been affected by Mitchell’s absence as much as Cody Walker, who endured another frustrating game in the defeat to Canberra. At times this season, Walker has looked like a player with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou expects to get some players back from injury real soon.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou expects to get some players back from injury real soon.

“There are parts of his game he can improve but there is no doubt as a senior player, he feels it more than most and it is because he cares, he wants us to be better,” Demetriou said.

“As I said, I am not panicking. We will get the consistency and some of the results we want. We knew with the players we turned over the start of the season was going to be challenging but throw in injuries and things like that to key players, it has made it a bit more challenging.

“But we will be right.”

The Rabbitohs should be fortified after the bye by the return of not just Mitchell, but also Jed Cartwright. Michael Chee Kam won’t be far away. Souths have lost more than they have won this season but they are in eighth place and the tide can quickly turn.

“I love it,” Demetriou said.

“It is not enjoyable after every loss — you feel it, it’s a lot more heightened. You feel that sense of responsibility on how the team is playing.

“That’s exciting as well because the challenge is to turn it around.”


Originally published as NRL 2022: Jason Demetriou reveals when key personnel will return for depleted Rabbitohs

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