Greg Inglis could emerge as a long-term option as a frontline playmaker for South Sydney, as coach Michael Maguire moves to reshape his halves combination in the wake of the long-term injury to halfback Adam Reynolds.
Reynolds went for scans on his knee on Saturday, after suffering the injury late in the Rabbitohs’ dramatic 18-17 win over Canterbury on Easter Friday, with Souths support fearing the initial diagnosis of up to five months on the sideline will be on the money.
The 24-year-old has ruptured the lateral ligament in his knee and will likely undergo surgery next week.
Inglis has been a revelation at fullback since being shifted there by Maguire. But the Queensland and Australia representative does have considerable experience playing at five-eighth, leading Melbourne to their 2007 grand final win in the position.
Inglis took out the Clive Churchill medal in Melbourne’s 34-8 win over Manly, before the Storm later had the premiership stripped due to massive salary cap rorting.
Souths had signed former Queensland Cup player of the year Cody Walker as a halves back-up ahead of the 2015 season, but he was last month stood down by the club over domestic assault allegations.
Another option for Maguire could be to draft youngster Cameron McInnes into his side at hooker and move first choice rake Issac Luke into the halves.
However, moving Inglis into five-eighth, with Luke Keary switching to halfback, could make the most sense and Souths have a ready-made replacement at fullback in young gun Alex Johnston.
Regardless, the loss of Reynolds is a major blow to the Rabbitohs, utility forward Tim Grant conceded.
“You never like to see any of our boys go down like that,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“He is in good hands with our medical staff, what will be will be and we will just move forward.
“It is a blow, Reyno is a key player in this team, but I’m sure whoever will step in will do the job.”
Inglis battled with a knee injury through much of the win over the Dogs in the grand final rematch, but he is expected to be fit for Souths’ next game against North Queensland on Monday week.
Luke and Glenn Stewart both suffered concussion against Canterbury but are also expected to be right to play the Cowboys.