Losing Latrell Mitchell from the back three is a major blow but South Sydney are excited to see what "freak" Jaxson Paulo brings in his NRL debut.
The 20-year-old has been named on the wing against Newcastle on Saturday, with the Rabbitohs shuffling their backline to replace the suspended Mitchell.
Standing 192cm and weighing 101kg, Paulo has impressed his teammates since arriving at Redfern from the Gold Coast midway through last year.
"Jaxson's a freak, that's all I can really say," second-rower Jaydn Su'A said on Wednesday.
"He's very tall, he's good under the high ball and he's got some pace, so I'm sure he will do his job really well this weekend.
"Hopefully we can get him into the game because the more he touches the ball the better for us."
Lock Cameron Murray had been similarly impressed by the junior Kiwi representative, who juggles rugby league with a double degree in business and design.
Murray hinted that while named on the wing, Paulo may instead replace Campbell Graham (face fracture) in the centres with Dane Gagai staying on the flank where he scored a hat-trick last week.
"Jax is a quality player and he's earned the right to debut," Murray said.
"Athletically he's really impressive and he's a bigger body too so he's a great replacement for Campbell Graham out there on the edge."
The Rabbitohs are sixth on the ladder after accounting for Wests Tigers last round but Murray felt they still had plenty of upside.
"I think we're building nicely but I don't think we're where we need to be," Murray said.
"But we're only almost halfway through the season so we've got a few more games to get things right.
"We just need to cut out errors and silly penalties."
Australian Associated Press