Kirisome Auva’a is expected to push for a spot in the South Sydney starting side as soon as his NRL ban for domestic violence offences expires next month.
Auva’a has returned to football via the Rabbitohs’ NSW Cup side and his teammates were this week singing his praises as he continues to get his life back on track.
He was suspended indefinitely from the game last November after pleading guilty to two charges of recklessly causing serious injury against his ex-partner.
Rabbitohs centre Dylan Walker said he had been impressed with Auva’a on the field after watching him score a try and set up another two in his return to the game for the North Sydney Bears in early July.
He has not played NRL since starting at centre in the Rabbitohs’ grand final win over Canterbury last October.
Auva’a’s case caused the NRL to reassess how it dealt with domestic violence after it failed to suspend him as soon as he pleaded guilty.
Roosters winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall will appear in Waverley Local Court on Thursday to answer 10 charges related to the alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend.
Kenny-Dowall was stood down for the Roosters’ win over the Warriors on Sunday and has not been named to take on the Wests Tigers on Friday night.
Auva’a will be available to return for South Sydney against North Queensland in round 23 next month, having satisfied the NRL he has made positive steps in his rehabilitation.
Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis said Auva’a was in a positive head space, which boded well for his return to the NRL.
“He’s been great away from footy as well,” Inglis said.
“He comes here and trains well, he does a lot of things away from footy, a lot of charity events.
“He’s keeping busy and keeping focused, and that’s making him a better person.
“With `Some’, it’d be great to get him back because that’s what he loves doing.”
Walker, who will partner Auva’a in the centres upon his return, said his close mate was focused on returning to football.
“We’re close to each other, he’s a great bloke and a great footballer and I have so much respect for him,” Walker said.
“He’s a good fella and I’ve only got good things to say about him.”