Maguire won't get caught short again

The wisdom of South Sydney coach Michael Maguire in ensuring his team isn't reliant on Adam Reynolds staying fit all season was illustrated three weeks ago when the star halfback went down at training with what was initially feared could have been a season-ending knee injury.

Reynolds, who is expected to play against Sydney Roosters with his knee heavily strapped, suffered the injury in a tackle by team-mate Greg Inglis and the way he fell sparked genuine concerns by some at the Rabbitohs.

With Reynolds having played 48 games for Souths since making his NRL debut in the opening round of the 2012 season against Sydney Roosters, Maguire hasn't had to consider anyone else for the No.7 jersey.

However, he has been preparing for the scenario since losing Reynolds with a hamstring injury midway through the 2012 grand final qualifier against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium and has had Luke Keary, Dylan Walker and John Sutton training in the halves during the off-season.

Unfortunately, the back-up plan was thrown out of kilter when Keary was sidelined for up to five months by a shoulder injury sustained in the NRL Nines. But in an enouraging sign for Maguire, Souths coped without both Keary and Reynolds in the Charity Shield clash with St George, with Walker and Sutton combining effectively in the halves.

Walker picked up an ankle injury in that game, but is expected to partner Reynolds against the Roosters, with Sutton another option if needed. He has played most of his career at five-eighth and was in arguably the best form of his career last season.

The Rabbitohs are also considering former Sydney Roosters under-20s halfback Ryley Jacks as a possible back-up.

"I learnt a lot in that first year and in that one game," Maguire said of the need to cover potential injuries.

"We have made sure we have pushed people around at training during the off-season so we have options."

If Walker passes a fitness test and plays against the Roosters on Thursday night, Sutton will start at lock after preparing during the off-season to make a move into the forwards.

"Dylan is quick, he is a strong defender for a little bloke and I think he has got all the attributes to be a good five-eighth," Sutton said.

"He and Adam have been teaming up all pre-season and they have been looking pretty sharp."

Asked about his move to the forwards, Sutton said: "My role won't change too much, I just think I will be doing a bit more ball playing through the middle than on the edge, a bit more but it is less thinking so it is not too bad for myself."

The story Maguire won't get caught short again first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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