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Issac Luke's deputies give Michael Maguire a nice dilemma

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 26/05/2014 Michael Chammas
Wall: Chris Heighington is wrapped up by Ben Lowe, Tom Burgess and Apisai Koroisau. © Getty Images Wall: Chris Heighington is wrapped up by Ben Lowe, Tom Burgess and Apisai Koroisau.

South Sydney are expected to welcome back hooker Issac Luke for next Monday's clash with St George Illawarra, leaving coach Michael Maguire with a dilemma over what to do with his dummy half rotation.

Apisai Koroisau and Cameron McInnes have been a revelation in Luke's absence for the most part of the season, however one, if not both, could get the axe next week with the club's No.1 dummy half all but ready to return from a shoulder injury against the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Monday night.

Luke hasn't played since injuring his shoulder in the loss to the Wests Tigers back in round three, however both McInnes and Koroisau have more than held their own with their tag team efforts over the past two months.

While the pair have shared the workload during Luke's absence, Maguire is undecided whether Luke will go back to his usual role as an 80 minute player or whether to play either McInnes or Koroisau on the bench.

"I've got to make some tough decisions there and I have Issac working hard, but he probably fears he might be in Norths playing reserve grade," Maguire joked.

"Nah, he'll be right. I've got to make some tough decisions. The two young kids have been doing such a good job for us.

"Through that period when you lose such a good player like Issac, you want to make sure you've got some cover and we've showed that with these two young kids coming through."

Luke was a chance of making an early return in Monday night's 18-0 win over Cronulla at Remondis Stadium, in which substitute hooker McInnes crossed for his first try in the NRL.

"He was close but I obviously didn't want to risk him there with that injury," Maguire said.

"We'll have to go through this week and see where he's at again. We've got a longer turnaround to Monday so that gives us a bit more time."

While the Rabbitohs were hardly challenged in defence, they did have to withstand five consecutive sets on their own line in the last five minutes of the game to keep Cronulla scoreless at home for the first time in three years.

It also snapped a 15-year drought for the Bunnies, with Maguire more than happy to share his side's feats in the post-match press conference.

"It was great to see that they got nil, because the boys have been working hard to get a team nil, and I've been told that the last time was in '99 against Penrith, so little things a long the way like that are pleasing to achieve," Maguire said.

"We have just got to be able to keep backing it up."

While it was the first time in Sutton's career that he played in a team that held the opposition scoreless, he said the Rabbitohs had plenty to work on in attack after a less than impressive night out with the ball in hand.

"We've been working hard on trying to do it the last couple of years and it was very pleasing that we did," Sutton said of his team's effort to keep the Sharks to nil.

"Like Madge said, I thought our attack wasn't on and we turned over too much ball. We definitely have to work hard this week at training to get it right."

With Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis away on Origin duty with the Blues and Andrew Fifita, Todd Carney, Beau Ryan and Anthony Tupou on the sidelines through injury, the Rabbitohs would have been excused for allowing complacency to creep into their game.

However Maguire insists that wasn't the case for his troops.

"Not at all, I actually had a number of players coming in and they are all playing for positions," Maguire said.

"With the guys that were gone, I thought Benny Lowe and Tom Burgess came in and they did a good job for us."

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