On For Young & Old at South Sydney
It is no accident that the Rabbitohs' rich run of recent form has coincided with the return of New Zealand Test hooker Issac Luke.
With the Rabbitohs shooting for a fifth straight win when they meet the Cowboys this Saturday night, tenacious 27-year-old Luke is confident that his shoulder injury has finally made a full recovery after it kept him out for eight weeks earlier in the season.
"I'm happy with how everything is going. I was happy to get the whole 80 minutes out the last game and I'm happy with how everything is going with the team," Luke said.
"It's returned back to what it was and I'm happy with where it is at. I've done everything I can to get back into full training and hopefully I'm not wearing any rehab singlets anytime soon."
With novice hooking duo Cameron McInnes and Apisai Koroisau admirably filling the void left by Luke, the veteran was concerned that coach Michael Maguire would make him work his way back through NSW Cup with the North Sydney Bears.
"[The shoulder injury] was hard for me but obviously it was a good opportunity for our two young pups to step up and finally show what they have got. For me, being on the sideline and having to watch them and having that experience, I was able to pass some knowledge down to them," Luke said.
"To be honest, I didn't think that Madge [coach Maguire] was going to put me straight back in the team. I thought I'd go through the process of playing with the Bears but he put me straight back in."
While Koroisau has been coming off the bench and with McInnes returning to Holden Cup since Luke's return it has been another outstanding youngster in Kyle Turner that has had people talking.
More inclined to be found in the back row and keeping Queensland's Chris McQueen out of the starting side, injuries to centre Dylan Walker, Bryson Goodwin, Joel Reddy and Beau Champion mean Turner has found a place in the Rabbitohs' backline the past two games in a move that has seen him cross for three tries.
"It's a position that I'm not too familiar with but I'm ready to step up and do my job for the team basically. I'm glad I could pull out some good performances for Madge," Turner said.
"I don't think I've played there though since I was about 14. It has been a bit of a change up but I suppose you have to do what you have to do."
With Turner impressing all the right people out Redfern way, the 22-year-old Coonabarabran Unicorns junior has credited the older players in the team for his rich vein of form in what has proven to be a brilliant debut season from him thus far.
"The older boys in the team have taken me under their wings and I think they have helped me really progress my game to the level that it is at now," Turner said.
"I have to credit Madge a lot too. He's believed in me and has put a lot of faith in me so he is also a big part of where I am now.
"They always give me the time of day to have a chat about anything really and I think it has really helped my game."
With Turner and Luke proving to be lynchpins in the Rabbitohs resurgence over the past six weeks, the North Queensland Cowboys will have to be high alert if they're going to prevent a Rabbitohs onslaught on Saturday night.
This article appeared first on Nrl.com.