Souths have two spots left on their 30-man roster with one of those spots needing to be filled by round one. They needs forwards and Dragons junior Sele is a chance while Souths were also keen to see how former Cowboy and Broncos prop Patrick Mogo performed at the Nines.
Sele, the Tongan whose name he says is often mistaken for being Lebanese, slogged it out in the heat on Friday morning with several Souths stars and is determined to make the most of his late, late lifeline.
“I’ve got a month to prove myself here,” Sele said. “The ball is in my court now, I’m trying to give it all my all at each training session and prove the point I am a first-grade player.
“JD [assistant Jason Demetriou] told me, ‘you’ve got four weeks mate’. He believes in me. And like Wayne said to me, it’s about self belief, which is what I’ve been working on.
“I first met Wayne at the end of November here [at Redfern]. He told me was looking for a forward, but at the time they were sorting out stuff with Latrell [Mitchell] and Jai Arrow.”
Sele went without a wage from the start of November and had to draw on his savings and rely on his partner Maria’s online business. The couple have two daughters, Valentina and four-month-old Maia.
Sele played 18 games for the Dragons before he had big hopes at Penrith, only to arrive late for a Gold Coast recovery after round five, and failed to return to the top grade.
“I was 10 minutes late and got dropped the following week. A few weeks later I was named to return for Magic Round but I [suffered] from a bulging disc in my back while doing weights. That put me out another two weeks, then I spent the rest of the year playing [Canterbury] Cup.”
Bennett is ready to shift Cameron Murray from lock forward, most likely to the left edge formerly occupied by John Sutton. Murray has been training there inside Braidon Burns, placing even more importance on unearthing more middle men.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.