Coach Jason Taylor is confident South Sydney can get their NRL season back on track without star recruit Craig Wing, anticipating the Rabbitohs' prodigal son to return for the business end of the NRL season.
Wing played just eight minutes in Friday night's 34-20 loss to the Sydney Roosters, suffering a dislocated shoulder after a late shoulder charge from behind by hooker Riley Brown which Taylor labelled a deliberate cheap shot.
Wing had been brought into the club to ignite the Rabbitohs' stuttering attack, his absence immediately felt in the six-tries-to-four loss before a late flurry added some respectability to the scoreline.
Wing is expected to miss at least six weeks with the injury, but the spell could be longer with scans on Sunday to determine whether any further damage was suffered in the shoulder joint.
Taylor says the classy halfback's absence would open the door for 20-year-old Eddie Paea and last year's halves combination of Jeremy Smith and Ben Rogers to gain significant experience in first grade.
"It's a long season, it's round one. (Wing) will be back and we will be ready for him," said Taylor.
"He will be back and he will produce for us what we know he can.
"We will play without him for a few weeks but we will have him when it really matters and that's later in the year.
"We're fine with that. It gives us a good chance to give our young boys a shot at it and play a bit more footy."
One of the few positives to come out of Friday night's game was the form of rising hooker Issac Luke.
Luke, 20, was outstanding for the Rabbitohs with 11 dummy-half runs, one line break, two offloads and 155 metres gained.
After just 15 NRL games, Luke has already shown he is an attacking weapon the Rabbitohs can build their offence around.
"He is a handful, no doubt about that," said Taylor.
"There was a point there in second half where he was probably just trying to win the game on his own so we need to keep working on that.
"He has some things he can do better and we can work better with him. We're all learning him and how he plays and that will improve throughout the year."Like