Josh Mansour has been ruthlessly cut from Wayne Bennett’s South Sydney side following their opening-round loss to Melbourne on Thursday.
The 30-year-old former representative winger played his first game for the Rabbitohs in their 26-18 loss to the Storm but has been dropped for the clash with Manly on Saturday night.
His first match since leaving Penrith was a difficult night for Mansour, who finished with just 75 metres, two errors and two missed tackles.
The axing will come as a blow for the star winger, who signed with the Rabbitohs for two seasons despite being told by the Panthers he would be playing first grade if he remained at the club.
In his place Bennett has named 21-year-old winger Jaxson Paulo for his first game of the year following an impressive pre-season.
Paulo will need to pass concussion protocols to take the field after copping a head knock playing NSW Cup last weekend.
Elsewhere, Freddy Lussick has been named at hooker for the Sydney Roosters as co-captain Jake Friend deals with his latest concussion setback.
Friend suffered a sickening hit in the Roosters’ 46-4 victory over Manly on Saturday, with the club reluctant to say how long he will be sidelined.
Already co-captain Boyd Cordner will be missing for the first half of the season as he deals with ongoing concussion concerns.
Newcastle have overcome their own injury fears, with Kurt Mann and Bradman Best both named to face the Warriors on the Central Coast on Friday.
Mann was cleared of a suspected MCL injury this week and will line up in the halves alongside Mitchell Pearce, while Best has shrugged off the ankle problem that forced him out of the game against Canterbury last Friday.
Both got through a tough training session on Tuesday and winger Hymel Hunt said he is confident Best will be fine by Friday’s match against former Newcastle coach Nathan Brown.
“Brad is one of a kind, that kid,” Hunt said. “I’m sure he’ll be fine.
“He’s a fast healer and I’m excited to see how our combination unfolds on the left side.”
Brisbane have been given a boost ahead of their southeast Queensland derby against Gold Coast on Friday.
Medical staff have cleared John Asiata and Queensland State of Origin winger Xavier Coates to play after both suffered neck injuries in last Friday’s loss to Parramatta.
Prop Matt Lodge will miss out with a hamstring strain picked up against the Eels but there is better news for youngster Tom Flegler (ankle) who missed training on Tuesday but is expected to be available for selection.