South Sydney Rabbitohs half Lachlan Ilias has picked Josiah Karapani as the club's breakout player for 2023.

A young gun centre, Karapani has been earmarked as a possible future representative player with strong footwork and strength.

The 20-year-old, who still played a handful of games in the Jersey Flegg Cup last year, also had five NSW Cup games before illness ruined the second half of his year.

He would ultimately play five reserve grade games, scoring three tries, but more impressively, averaging 162 metres per game. His ball-running is not yet matched by his defence, but with questions lingering over South Sydney's back five, there is little doubt he is closing in on an NRL debut.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Ilias said Karapani may have debuted during the 2022 campaign while he was on a development deal if not for the illness.

“I think Josiah Karapani is in for a breakout year,” Ilias said.

“He hasn't debuted yet, but he has been knocking on the door for a couple of years.

“He was a development player last year and unfortunately had an illness midway through last season, so he could have played a few games already.

“He is killing it at training and he has got us a few times in opposed sessions. He is someone definitely to watch out for this year.”

While Latrell Mitchell will once again play fullback, and both Alex Johnston and Campbell Graham have a wing and centre spot locked up respectively, the other two spots in Jason Demetriou's best 17 this season are far less certain.

Isaiah Tass and Taane Milne are likely to be the two players favoured, however, both can line up at either centre or wing.

Milne will start the season on the sidelines suspended after a nasty incident during last year's finals series which saw him also miss the Rugby League World Cup, where he otherwise likely would have been part of Fiji's squad for the tournament in England.

Instead, those games counted towards his suspension, but he still has two to serve, opening up a spot for Round 1.

Izaac Thompson is likely to be the most direct competition to Karapani for a spot, able to play at wing or on the centre and having impressed in his NRL debut last season.

Backs Terrell Kalo Kalo and Leon Te Hau are also in South Sydney's Top 30 this season, while the development squad features Leon Te Hau.

South Sydney kick their season off with a clash against the Cronulla Sharks in the Shire, who they beat in last year's semi-finals.