South Sydney NRL hooker Issac Luke says slipping form was why he lost his starting spot and he wasn’t being punished for signing with the New Zealand Warriors.
The New Zealand international has been listed to start for Saturday’s match against the Gold Coast Titans.
In recent weeks he has been named on the bench behind youngster Cameron McInnes, though he did actually start against Parramatta last week after initially being listed as an interchange player.
The fact he was demoted soon after revealing he was moving on at the end of the season prompted speculation he might have been punished for leaving the Rabbitohs burrow.
“That’s got nothing to do with it, I live by the standards at this club,” Luke said on Wednesday.
“If you don’t live by them … I’m one to reinforce them as well.
“There’s specific things in my game that I like to hold myself accountable to, standards that obviously I haven’t been reaching, but it’s up to me.”
Luke didn’t want to specify which areas of his game had dropped, but felt he had turned things around by ticking off “a lot of boxes” in the round before last against Melbourne.
He had plenty of praise for 21-year old highly regarded utility and 2014 Junior Kangaroos representative McIness, who recently signed a new deal with the Rabbitohs.
“He comes to training every day and he just wants to better himself and it’s going to pay off,” Luke said.
“Me and Cam are learning off each other every day as well as we feed off each other’s energy.
“To be able to play with him and have a last year with him is going to be good.
“The game is starting to bring Cam’s kind of player role into the game.
“He can play anywhere – give him a number he’ll play it, he doesn’t really care where he is, that’s a utility role.
“I’m just happy to be out there with him.
“I think I’ve done enough mentoring. He’s going to take over soon, so I’m going to relax and enjoy my time with him.”