A shock contender has reportedly emerged as the frontrunner to take over as the interim coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs with Jason Demetriou set to be axed after this weekend.

As reported by Fox League, Demetriou and the Rabbitohs are set to cut ties after the club's Round 6 clash against the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday night.

In his place, the publication has reported that former QLD Maroons and current Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is the leading candidate to take over and will be appointed the club's interim coach.

The Kangaroos coach since 2016, Meninga already has a good relationship with several players in the team including Cameron Murray, Campbell Graham, Jack Wighton, Latrell Mitchell and Damien Cook - the first four won the 2022 Rugby League World Cup with Meninga.

Despite having an 88 per cent winning percentage for Australia and a 67 per cent winning percentage for Queensland, Meninga has only coached once before in the NRL.

From 1997 to 2001, Meninga coached the Canberra Raiders, winning 66 out of a possible 125 games - a winning percentage of 53 per cent.

It is understood that the club's board was presented with a shortlist of candidates, including Meninga, NSW Blues coach Michael Maguire, Rabbitohs assistant coach Ben Hornby, and three other potential contenders.

While the other potential candidates have yet to be named, Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy have both been linked to the job.

However, Melbourne Storm Chairman Matt Trip would shut down the links of Bellamy coaching the Rabbitohs.

The decision to axe Jason Demetriou as head coach comes after the Rabbitohs failed to reach the finals last season - even leading the NRL in Round 11 - and their current position on the NRL ladder which they are coming last with a record of 1-4.

South Sydney Rabbitohs Training Session
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 08: Rabbitohs head coach Jason Demetriou looks on during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Training Session at Redfern Oval on March 08, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)