Back-rower Chris McQueens says he needs to step up for Souths next NRL season in the absence of Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o.

Chris McQueen has put his hand up to be the forward leader who fills the massive hole left by departing duo Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o when South Sydney defend their NRL crown in 2015.

Queensland Origin back-rower McQueen was a solid if not spectacular contributor to Souths’ cause this year, as they surged to their first premiership in 43 years.

After some speculation over his future earlier in the year, the Rabbitohs re-signed McQueen until the end of the 2016 season, in a show of faith in the 27-year-old.

And the veteran of 92 NRL games with Souths since 2009, knows he will be relied upon heavily to repay that faith with Burgess and Te’o both having playing their last games for the club and defecting to rugby.

“The club will change a little bit next year, we have some key signings coming in as well (in Tim Grant and Glenn Stewart) and it is up to me to fill that gap,” McQueen said.

“Sammy has been outstanding for us for the last few years and he really stepped it up this year.

“With those boys gone I do see an opportunity for myself there, to stand up at the club and be that leader.

“We have been building a culture at this club for a long time and even though we are losing some pretty key players that is not going to change next year.

“We will come back in the pre-season and really rip in and come March next year we will be ready to defend the title.”

Souths hooker Issac Luke, who missed the grand final through suspension, believes the Rabbitohs will again be a powerhouse in 2015, as they strive to be the first team to win back-to-back premierships in a unified competition since the Brisbane sides of 1992 and 1993

“With those two guys gone it will give us even more motivation to win it again next year,” Luke said.

“Especially if people are saying we can’t win it without them.”