Sutton's fitness key for Souths: Lang - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sutton's fitness key for Souths: Lang

By David Beniuk 28/01/2010 08:55:11 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney coach John Lang admits the NRL club would struggle to cover for key man John Sutton, who is making a slow recovery from a neck injury.

Five-eighth Sutton is considered the man the Rabbitohs will need to capitalise on the grunt of their big new pack, with halfback Chris Sandow still to prove he can consistently dominate.

The departure of Craig Wing to Japanese rugby has left Souths' cupboard bare when it comes to back-up pivots, while Lang and captain Roy Asotasi have both described Sutton's recovery as slow.

The sublimely talented 25-year-old suffered the injury in the off-season and had an operation before Christmas.

"He just had minor surgery on it so it's a slow progress for him at the moment," Asotasi said.

"It's a bit frustrating because he did full training with the boys for a month before that actually happened so it's kind of a step back.

"He's working hard to get back so hopefully he gets back because he's one of our X-factors, key position players for the team."

Lang is hopeful Sutton will be right for the Charity Shield clash with St George Illawarra on February 27 but said, regardless, the Rabbitohs needed to work on some back-up.

"Not many people play every game so our game will be built around having a player like him at five-eighth, so we've got to obviously work on our options when he's not there," Lang said.

"(There's) plenty of candidates but no solutions at this stage.

"We have a number of guys there we think may be able to do the job but there's no clear replacement for him.

"It's probably the only position where we haven't got the clear back-up players.

"Luke Capewell's one player who's played a lot of five-eighth, not at Souths ... Luke's a different style of player but he'll be one player that we'll be looking at in that position.

"We've got a couple of young guys there but nobody's proven at this stage."

Souths also have forward Michael Crocker recovering from off-season surgery, while Asotasi is on schedule to return from a five-month rehabilitation after a knee reconstruction in the Charity Shield.

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