Ben Te'o has been earmarked as a future South Sydney captain by coach Michael Maguire after skippering the Rabbitohs at the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines last weekend.
Despite the presence of fulltime captain John Sutton in Maguire's squad for the shortform tournament, Te'o led the Rabbitohs around Eden Park.
The former Wests Tigers and Brisbane back-rower joined the Rabbitohs at the start of last season and has emerged at genuine captaincy material over that time.
"Benny is always running around, he is a real character within the team and he shows a lot of leadership within the group," Maguire said.
"John has himself developed extremely well since taking on that captaincy role and Benny really helps in those areas and I though the Nines was an opportunity to give someone else a run.
"Benny is a big part of how we are developing as a team, he is a leader within that and he has a lot of experience now.
"He has a lot of State of Origin experience, he has developed as a player on off the field and he is someone who knows the game well.
"He is a big part of us moving forward."
Allegations of assault dogged Te'o, 27, last season before police and the NRL Integrity Unit found the Queensland State of Origin back-rower had no case to answer.
Maguire, who recently re-signed with the Rabbitohs until the end of 2017, said Te'o had learnt from the situation.
"I think everyone goes through different things in life and that was a circumstance that he went through and it has definitely made him a stronger character," Maguire said.
"Benny is now very focused on performing well and being a part of what we are trying to do, being a leading figure within the team around that and always looking at getting the best out of himself."
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