Bennett tips Taaffe for big Souths future

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Wayne Bennett says Blake Taaffe has a big future at South Sydney and the young playmaker gets a chance to prove it at NRL level on Friday night.

The 22-year-old has been tipped as an option to replace departing captain Adam Reynolds in the halves next season but will wear the No.1 jersey in his first NRL start against North Queensland.

Earlier this year Taaffe re-signed with Souths until the end of 2023, a show of the club's faith in the rising young star.

"He's blessed with speed, which is a wonderful attribute to have and he's highly skilled. Everyone enjoys watching him play," Bennett said on Thursday.

"He played at Mudgee in (the Charity Shield) and I'm sure people remember him from that game.

"He had 20 minutes a couple of weeks ago. We think he's a wonderful young player and he's got a great future."

Taaffe was handed his NRL debut against Brisbane in round 15 from the bench but has been named to replace fullback Latrell Mitchell against the Cowboys on Friday night.

With Reynolds off to the Broncos next year, it's a good test to see how he handles the step up to first grade, despite playing his junior career in the halves.

"He can play a couple of positions but right now we need him at fullback, and that's where we've been training him and that's where he's been playing," said Bennett.

"So we'll just stay with that and not get ahead of ourselves and see what next season brings.

"I haven't seen enough of him play (at halfback) to answer (which is his best postiion) with any confidence.

"He's highly skilled and knows the game really well so no reason why he couldn't step up."

The Rabbitohs will be without Origin stars Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Jai Arrow and Dane Gagai for Friday night's clash.

The game has been moved to Newcastle to avoid the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney and allow the Cowboys to travel safely into NSW.

Meanwhile, Bennett confirmed second-rower Jaydn Su'A is set to join St George Illawarra next season, saying he has a chance to revive his career at the Dragons.

Su'A played the State of Origin opener for Queensland last month but has struggled to find game time in Bennett's best 17 at Souths.

"South Sydney couldn't offer him a contract under the salary cap, so I'm pleased he's got another club and he's happy with the deal," Bennett said.

"He's spoken to me about it and I'm happy for him."

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