Souths players believe Braidon Burns will be the long-time owner of Greg Inglis' famous No.3 jersey as the club looks for a cut-price outside back – not a marquee man – to bolster their immediate depth.
The Redfern club suddenly has $1.5 million to spend after Inglis retired from the game 18 months before his deal was due to expire.
Inglis will move into several roles within the club, including Souths Cares, which are yet to be signed off by the NRL. The Herald understands those roles will earn Inglis around $200,000 a year.
It remains to be seen if any deals with Souths will be included in the salary cap.
While Burns is seen as the long-term centre by his teammates, the club is understood to be still keen on luring Broncos youngster Gehamat Shibasaki to the club. There have also been talks about bringing Bryson Goodwin back from Warrington.
They are likely to remain in the hunt for a big signing come 2020.
James Roberts has also been linked to a Redfern return, but it appears there is little appetite from the club, while the player himself is also said to be sceptical about returning to the neighbourhood in which he found trouble several years ago.
Burns injured his ankle in round three and remains at least another month away from a return, but showed enough in the summer to convince Bennett to move Inglis away from his preferred left centre position.
Dane Gagai is another representative centre while Campbell Graham, who has been brilliant starting on the left wing, is also a centre by trade.
Cody Walker, Souths' best player in the opening five rounds, defends on the left side and praised Burns.
"I think it's a great opportunity for a young kid to step up and take Greggy's spot," Walker told the Herald. "You'll never replace Greggy, it will never happen in one million years because he's a once-in-a-generation player.
"I believe it's Braidon Burns. He's shown at the start of the season he's comfortable with that position and will take it with both hands. He's working hard to get back. He got injured and then it opened up an opportunity for 'dog' [Kyle Turner] and he's done a wonderful job."
Turner, who has since picked up the nickname 'Tonie' in reference to Tonie Carroll, is another backrower shifted to the centres by Wayne Bennett at Brisbane. Bennett did likewise with Matt Prior at St George Illawarra.
Plonked at centre after Burns broke down early against the Gold Coast in round three, Turner will lean on Inglis for some priceless advice in the lead-up to the Good Friday clash against Canterbury.
"I'm an honorary forward, I'm still not a centre yet," said Turner, who was named in the No. 3 against Canterbury.
Inglis said at his packed press conference on Monday that Damien Cook teared up when he delivered the news, and the representative hooker told the Herald it Read More – Source