Fiji international Taane Milne insists he would be happy to play any position next season to help the Rabbitohs accommodate new recruit Jack Wighton in their star-studded backline.
Wighton joined his new team-mates at training for the first time on Monday and is expected to play in the centres, where he partnered Souths superstar Latrell Mitchell in Australia’s 2022 World Cup win against Samoa.
With Mitchell set to again play fullback, Alex Johnston having a mortgage on left wing and Campbell Graham also guaranteed a spot, there is only one position remaining in the outside backs.
Vying with Milne for a place in the backline is centre Isaiah Taas, winger Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson and teenage speedster Tyrone Munro.
However, Milne played second-row for Fiji in the recent Pacific Championships in Papua New Guinea and said he would be willing to do so at Souths if coach Jason Demetriou wanted him to make the move.
“It’s going to be good competition for spots so I'm really excited,” Milne said.
“I’m just happy to play anywhere. With Fiji, there's a lot of quality outside backs and I'm just happy to cover the positions that we need.
“I just want to play footy, so I’ll see how I go. I played a bit of second row in NSW Cup a few years ago, but there's some good second-rowers in our team, with Keon [Koloamatangi] and Cameron [Murray] and Jai [Arrow], so it’s pretty tough competition there.”
Wighton, who has signed a four-year contract with the Rabbitohs, joined former Manly prop Sean Keppie as the new faces on his first day of training for Souths.
The former NSW Origin star has a close relationship with Mitchell and Milne said Souths players were keen to welcome him to the club, with captain Cameron Murray taking time out from his leave to attend the session.
“I have met him before and he’s a good person, and a good bloke, so he’s really going to fit into our club,” Milne said. “He’s a dad as well, and we drive good dads at our club, so he's really going to fit in.
“Obviously, he is a great player, so he is going to add attack and defence in our squad at South Sydney and we are excited that he is joining us.
“We’ve put last season behind us now and I know we’re going to shake up this competition next season, so we're ready to go.”
With Fiji set to host the Pacific Bowl at the end of next season, Milne is determined to build on his 67 NRL appearances and maintain his place in a Bati side likely to be bolstered by the return of Viliame Kikau, Api Koroisau and Daniel and Jacob Saifiti.
“I was lucky enough to be in the 2017 World Cup squad and we spent a week over there, so I know the people in Fiji will be really excited,” he said.
“They love their football, just like in Papua New Guinea, so it will be awesome next year and we’ve got a lot of young talent coming through.
“You saw that this year, with Jason Qareqare getting his debut and scoring an amazing try, and young Jahream Bula carving up in the NRL … so it's a bright future for Fiji.”