NSW Blues manager Brad Fittler has endorsed Souths youngster Blake Taaffe to measurement consecutive into the spread near astatine fullback successful the aftermath of Latrell Mitchell's six-week prohibition for his brutal deed connected erstwhile Roosters teammate Joey Manu.
With finals conscionable astir the corner, Mitchell's prohibition is an undoubted stroke for South Sydney's rubric hopes arsenic manager Wayne Bennett faces a pugnacious enactment telephone aft settling connected a champion 17 that has been powering into the post-season.
Two paths prevarication ahead. The archetypal sees Bennett shifting 1 of his existent stars to the No.1 jersey, risking the equilibrium of his line-up. The 2nd sees him bring successful a caller look for a consecutive swap with Mitchell astatine the disbursal of acquisition connected the park.
Fittler says if helium were successful Bennett's position, helium could spot lone 1 mode guardant – to play young weapon Taaffe.
"He's good, helium did a large occupation erstwhile they were playing him," Fittler told Wide World of Sports' The Final Whistle.
"The 1 happening they did, they were connected a spot of a relation for that play and helium fitted successful truly well.
"I'd beryllium overmuch much comfy doing that than moving an Alex Johnston oregon a Cody Walker and making excessively galore changes successful the beforehand line.
"He'd cognize each their plays, he'd cognize wherever they person to get to and, similar I said, he's confident. A assured kid."
Despite the measurement up successful prime during the post-season, Jillaroos large Ruan Sims backed Taaffe to emergence to the juncture owing to the combinations helium formed with the squad earlier successful the play erstwhile moonlighting successful the No.1 jersey.
The 22-year-old made 4 appearances for the Bunnies this year, scoring a effort on the way.
"Blake Taaffe would beryllium capable to bash it without having to marque excessively galore changes to the existing line-up," she said.
"He fits consecutive into the mold they have, and past you inactive person Benji Marshall coming disconnected the seat to supply that small spot of spark, that small spot of magic erstwhile the forwards get tired. That's what he's truly bully at.
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"He's been determination earlier and he's done it before, truthful he's not getting thrown successful the heavy end. Yes, it's moving into finals. But he's chopped his teeth earlier successful the twelvemonth and he's shown he's a precise talented young man. Very assured nether the precocious ball."
Fittler besides reminded Souths fans that they were faced with a akin concern past finals erstwhile Mitchell injured his hamstring. They were arguably the astonishment bundle of the post-season, crashing retired successful a thriller to the Panthers successful a preliminary last blockbuster.
"You got to retrieve Corey Allan did it past year," helium said.
"Latrell missed a just spot of the backend of the play and into the finals with a hamstring. And they did a fantastic job. They got to the preliminary finals truthful clip volition tell."
South Sydney person won 5 retired of six games without Mitchell this twelvemonth but they were not against top-six teams.