Issac Luke's Souths demotion unexplained

JOE BARTON
Last updated 13:20 24/08/2012
Issac Luke
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EXTENDED BENCH: Issac Luke is facing the prospect of missing a second week of NRL action.

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South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has refused to elaborate on star hooker Issac Luke's surprise dumping to reserve grade this week.

Maguire simply described his reasons behind Luke's banishment from the NRL squad for Sunday's game against Parramatta as "performance-based," but wouldn't outline whether that related to form or a disciplinary issue.

Luke's return from a three-game suspension for a lifting tackle has coincided with the Rabbitohs' two-game losing streak against top eight sides Manly and Cronulla.

"My biggest thing that I'll say about that is the players, the staff, we're building a very strong culture here on performance," Maguire said.

"Performance on and off the park. Issac knows what he needs to do to get back into the team."

To dump such a key member of a side, who touches the ball more often than any other player in the team, two weeks before the finals is an indication of the high standards Maguire requires from his playing group.

But the rookie NRL coach said the New Zealand international, who will turn out for North Sydney on Sunday, will be given every opportunity to force his way back into the first grade team for their round 26 clash with Newcastle.

"I always look at each performance. If he goes and performs very well there's no reason why he can't be back in next week," Maguire said.

Luke's place in the starting lineup will again be taken by youngster Nathan Peats.

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