A lengthy ban for George Burgess may be about to come to an end but South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett has given no guarantees of an immediate return for the England international.
Burgess looked set to be rushed into the Rabbitohs' side for the opening round of the finals next week after completing his nine match suspension for eye gouging Wests Tigers veteran Robbie Farah - the longest NRL ban in seven years.
While Bennett couldn't fault Burgess' attitude during his time on the sidelines, he made no promises ahead of South Sydney's Thursday night regular season finale against Sydney Roosters.
"No one is an automatic selection," Bennett said when asked if Burgess would be recalled next week.
"We will see where it is at, how we are playing on Thursday night and who is doing what.
"He's keen to go of course. George says he is feeling good, why wouldn't you be after eight weeks?
"But we have had a lot of guys doing the job since he has been away and we have to get through Thursday night."
Bennett did however give strong indication that Burgess' twin brother Tom may run out in next week's finals opening round after being sidelined for the past fortnight with a knee complaint.
"I was just talking to Tom. He thinks he might be right for next week," he said.
Bennett's main concern is ending the second-placed Roosters' run of seven straight wins.
Victory will help the Rabbitohs finish the regular season as high as third but a loss can relegate them to as low as fifth for the finals campaign.
But Bennett was backing South Sydney to maintain their run of two straight wins after turning around a horror 10 game period in which they suffered seven losses.
"The last two weeks have been really good for us. Hopefully against the Roosters we can go out there and execute the things that we do well," he said.
"I don't think we need to play the Roosters to have a test before the finals ... but it's a good time of the year to do it."
Meanwhile, Bennett confirmed Adam Doueihi would run out against the Roosters despite the fullback watching their captain's run from the sidelines on Wednesday.
"He'll be playing. He's had an ankle problem for about six weeks now so he just can't train every day," he said.
Australian Associated Press