Jye Gray and Dean Hawkins in sad new NRL fallout amid Latrell Mitchell boost for Souths

South Sydney's horror season has got even worse with Dean Hawkins and Jye Gray ruled out for around two months.

South Sydney's wretched season has gone from bad to worse, with confirmation Dean Hawkins and Jye Gray will both miss around two months with injuries suffered in last round's 42-12 loss to the Panthers. Gray was the victim of an ugly hip-drop tackle by Panthers centre Izack Tago and will undergo surgery for an ankle injury sustained in the tackle. The news comes after in the same game, Cameron Murray picked up a hip flexor injury, ruling him out for around eight weeks.

The Rabbitohs injury crisis will likely see Jack Wighton have an extended stint in the halves in place of Hawkins, who hurt his right quadricep while kicking off and will miss about 10 weeks. The Rabbitohs' first-choice halfback to begin the 2024 season, Lachlan Ilias, suffered a long-term leg injury shortly after being dropped in March.

And now with Hawkins out for around two months, it is expected that Wighton will be shifted from the centres into the halves for Saturday's clash against St George Illawarra. It is anticipated that Cody Walker and Wighton will combine in the halves moving forward, while young gun Dion Teaupa is knocking on the door for an NRL debut and is another option.

Pictured L-R: Latrell Mitchell, Dean Hawkins, Jye Gray
South Sydney's horror season has got even worse with Dean Hawkins and Jye Gray ruled out for around two months but in a boost Latrell Mitchell is in line for a return this weekend. Image: Getty

Rookie fullback Gray's emergence has been one of few highlights for the Rabbitohs this season and the loss of him for the next two months is seen as a huge blow to the club. His absence is offset somewhat by the return of Latrell Mitchell, who has been out for their last three matches due to suspension.

Gray met with a surgeon on Monday and is likely to undergo tightrope surgery to repair the issue in his right foot. "He's had a scan, and he'll meet with the surgeon this afternoon to plan the next course of action," Rabbitohs head of performance Andrew Croll said. "But it looks more than likely he'll need the tight rope surgery to repair that."

Gray and Hawkins join Murray, Campbell Graham, Richie Kennar, Tyrone Munro and Tevita Tatola in the Rabbitohs' casualty ward. While Jacob Gagai, who was a late withdrawal from the Panthers clash, will also miss the next couple of weeks with a calf injury.

News of Gray and Hawkins' prognoses comes days after the club confirmed Gehamat Shibasaki would join the squad as an injury cover for a team that is riddled with injuries and sitting rock bottom on the ladder. The ex-North Queensland forward will be available for selection for the Dragons clash.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 06:  Jack Wighton of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round five NRL match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors at Accor Stadium, on April 06, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Jack Wighton is expected to be moved into the halves amid Souths' injury crisis.

Many rugby league critics and fans expected Gray to stay at fullback, with Mitchell moved into the centres after the completion of his suspension. However, with the injury to the young fullback, Mitchell is all but certain to be named in the No.1 jersey against the Dragons.

But Souths interim coach Ben Hornby and captain Murray recently suggested that the plan was for Mitchell to return at fullback even before the Gray injury. When asked after the Rabbitohs' round nine loss if the plan was to continue to play Gray at fullback when Mitchell returns Hornby simply replied "No".


While Murray weighed in on Mitchell's impending return saying: "He has been training well, he has been prepping us really well and carving up at training." "Latrell plays best when he just keeps it simple in his head, so we are not expecting him to come in and solve all our problems and make us into the in-form team of the NRL.

"We just want him to come in and just be him. Obviously, he has got a presence about him and he will definitely come in and boost our moods and confidence a little bit."

with AAP