Rabbitohs rally behind banned Gagai

South Sydney young gun Campbell Graham says they are behind Dane Gagai, who will miss their NRL clash with Canterbury after only just returning from injury.

CAMPBELL GRAHAM of the Rabbitohs scores a try during the round 16 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
CAMPBELL GRAHAM of the Rabbitohs scores a try during the round 16 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

There's no hard feelings amongst South Sydney players towards star NRL centre Dane Gagai, who's sidelined again after only just returning from injury.

The Queensland Origin representative accepted a one match ban after he was charged with striking during a melee in the Rabbitohs' tight win over Wests Tigers last Thursday night.

He will miss Souths' clash with Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.

Gagai was returning from three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury but his young teammate Campbell Graham said the playing group had his back.

"That's just how footy goes sometimes. No one is filthy with Gags at all and we're all behind him," Campbell said on Monday.

While missing the bottom-placed Bulldogs is better than the Sydney Roosters, who the Rabbitohs face in the final round, Graham expected his team to otherwise be at full strength.

"Wayne (Bennett) hasn't indicated that and I feel like we'd want to put our best team out on the park and keep building towards finals,"Graham said.

"I feel like in patches throughout the last few games we've been really good but we haven't quite hit our desired 80 minutes yet and we're going to need our best players out there if we're going to do that."

The backline is still finding its feet in the absence of gun injured fullback Latrell Mitchell, who is out for the season.

Sitting sixth, Graham said it was important Souths did what they could to host a week one final.

"It's been touched on as you want any kind of advantage in finals and home games do give you an advantage but to get to that position, we need to beat the Bulldogs and put in a good performance against the Roosters."

Graham is a local junior and said he was thrilled the club had found room to re-sign another in winger Alex Johnston, with the news bringing a big reaction from the players.

"We love having him around here, no one embodies what we're about more than AJ, he's a local junior who has so much passion for this club," Graham said.

"Being a local junior myself, it was really comforting, very great to see Souths were willing to do whatever they could to keep AJ on board at the club."