The 2015 Contenders - Centre
With trial matches and the 2015 Telstra Premiership fast approaching, it’s time to start asking the big positional questions. Today, it’s all about the centres.
A wealth of contenders for centre will the battle for the number three and four jumper be as fierce as ever during this pre-season. With regular Rabbitohs plus young guns and two players currently on train and trial contracts, the need to succeed may just shine through bright enough to claim a spot in Michael Maguire’s starting team.
Able to cover virtually any position in the back-line, Walker began the 2014 season at five-eighth before finding his place in the centres. His 2014 season prompted Kangaroos Coach, Tim Sheens to select the Rabbitoh in the Australian centres.
Walker ran for 2872 metres from 279 carries, breaking the line on 14 occasions, scoring 12 tries and breaking a massive 83 tackles on his way to a four Test caps. He stands as a top contender for a centre position.
While Inglis has found his place at fullback, Rabbitohs Members and supporters won’t forget in a hurry that GI was in fact once touted as the world’s best centre. The man famous for his post-try ‘goanna’ celebration has proven time and time again why he is one of the game’s top players – look no further than his round 8, 2014 try against the Broncos.
In 24 NRL matches last season, Inglis ran for an impressive 3995 metres out of 343 runs. He also broke a staggering 104 tackles (most in the team) and broke the line 18 times. The Queenslander scored 13 tries for a total of 52 points, assisted in 16 tries and made five try-saving tackles from the back on his way to a Premiership ring with the Rabbitohs. He is justifiably the Rabbitohs’ number one contender for the number one jersey.
With a combination of enthusiasm and experience, Bryson Goodwin is an asset to the Rabbitohs backline whether he be in the centres or on the wing.
A veteran of 10 Tests for New Zealand and 115 first grade games (38 for the Rabbitohs), Goodwin will be looking to cement his spot in Michael Maguire’s starting squad, after having played only 13 matches in 2014. Despite that, Goodwin still managed to score three tries and four goals in those appearances for a total of 20 points. He’ll be out to impress in 2015.
Also, as one of a handful of kickers in the squad, Goodwin’s ability with the boot has and could be handy as a back-up to Adam Reynolds when required.
When it comes to utility value, few players have the versatility of Joel Reddy. A handy centr,, Reddy has the ability to play a range of positions across both the forwards and backs – even playing at lock at times in his career.
During the 2014 season, Reddy played six matches, picking up five tries in the process – two of which were scored from the centres against his old club the Wests Tigers in round three. Despite limited games, Reddy managed to make 10 tackle breaks, four line breaks and five offloads.
Auva’a scored nine tries in his first year in the top grade and also developed a formidable left-side attacking combination with fellow 2014 debutant and Kangaroos squad member, Alex Johnston – the combination yielding many tries during the season, including the opening try in the Grand Final.
In his 21 matches, Auva’a ran for a total of 2233 metres from 106 runs, broke the defensive line ten times and made 53 tackle breaks in a debut season that would ultimately see him rewarded with a Premiership ring. Auva’a will no doubt push for selection at the back end of the 2015 season.
Aaron Gray will be working hard to force his way into a backline position with the Rabbitohs in 2015 after an injury hit 2014 season, and with centre spots on the line, Gray could provide plenty of answers.
A South Sydney junior from the Mascot Jets, Gray rose to the ranks of the NYC where he played 41 games, scoring 166 points mostly playing in the centres. Gray was rewarded for his good form in 2014 with selection in the NSW under 20’s side where he performed solidly. This could well be his year to crack the top grade.
After a number of seasons in the Bulldogs’ lower grades, Ed Murphy arrives at the Rabbitohs in 2015 in the hope of securing a first grade debut.
A solid winger or centre, Murphy represented his state in 2012 when he was selected in the NSW under 20’s side to play Queensland. With a still unfolding regimen of pre-season training under Michael Maguire, Murphy is in the mix.
Currently at the Rabbitohs on a train and trial basis, Daryl Millard (29) has everything to train and play for with the former veteran of the Bulldogs, Dragons, Wakefield Trinity and Catalans looking for a spot in the red and green centres.
Millard, an outside back who comes to Redfern with 60 NRL games to his name as well as 97 Super League matches could provide plenty of speed and options out wide in the upcoming season. He also arrives with eight caps for Fiji and two matches for the ESL Exiles (2012-13).
Thompson Teteh, 25, is a centre who also played with the PNG Hunters Queensland Cup side in 2014, and was also part of the Kumuls’ World Cup train on squad in 2013.
Teteh has previously lined up against the Rabbitohs when the side took on the PNG Residents XIII in the 2013 Return to Redfern clash at Redfern Oval.