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20 stars for 2022 | Lachlan Ilias

Keep an eye on South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Lachlan Ilias in 2022; one of a handful of names well in the mix to become the long-term successor of former captain Adam Reynolds in the No.7 jersey at Redfern.

Ilias, a former Australian Schoolboys rugby union representative who joined the South Sydney pathways program in 2019, played 18 matches in the halves for the Jersey Flegg Cup side on the way to a premiership win.

Despite playing just 13 Rugby League games since then due to COVID-19, the 21-year-old extended his stay with the Rabbitohs for a further two seasons in 2021 and later earned his NRL debut – scoring a try and making 20 tackles in a 20-16 win over St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 25.

While Ilias certainly didn’t look out of place in his first NRL appearance, he could be the favourite to start at No.7 for the 2022 season opener against Brisbane Broncos.

“There’s some really good young kids, but I think Lachy will probably get first crack - Taaffe is more suited to the fullback or running five-eighth type role," Rabbitohs assistant coach Ben Hornby told Rabbitohs TV in December.

“He’s got a great opportunity in front of him... he’s just a great kid, he works really hard – you wouldn’t find anyone fitter.

"He has got a great temperament to play in the halves as well, which I think is really important.

“We’re looking forward to getting him out on the park and getting a few more reps into him.”