Crowe conquered, Burgess turns to Roos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crowe conquered, Burgess turns to Roos

By Steve Jancetic 28/10/2009 08:28:12 PM Comments (0)

Having been summonsed to a wine-and-dine affair with Hollywood star Russell Crowe, South Sydney-bound England forward Sam Burgess knows a thing or two about big meetings.

He walked away from his chat with Crowe with a four-year deal to play in the NRL with the Rabbitohs tucked under his arm, but now Burgess is preparing for another key date - a meeting with Australia in Saturday's Four Nations clash in Wigan.

And the 20-year-old prop admits he's aiming to leave a lasting impression on some of his future NRL rivals.

"Without a doubt," Burgess said.

"It'll be good to earn a little bit of respect off the Aussie players before I get out there.

"I was a little bit rusty last week against the French, but I'm looking to blow that off.

"I'm really looking forward to this challenge. It's going to give me a bit of a taste of what's to come for me next year."

What's to come is plenty of expectation, with many experts tipping the young tyro will eventually be seen as the best English player ever to play in the NRL.

Considering the quality of imports who have graced NRL grounds over the years, it's a big call.

But it is hardly surprising when you hear the way Burgess's teammates talk about the 191cm, 110kg giant.

"He's a fantastic player and I've never had as much respect for a young player as what I have for Sam," England and Wests Tigers backrower Gareth Ellis said.

"He's an all-rounder and I know that he'll be really excited to put his mark on Australian rugby league."

Asked if he expected the Australians to target Burgess, Ellis said they would do so at their own peril.

"I think if they do he'll stand up to it," Ellis said.

"I know he can put a shot on himself.

"If someone upsets him he'll be looking for them as well."

But the tough guy has also proved he has a softer side, such as when he took his mum down to meet Crowe during negotiations to bring him to the Bunnies.

Burgess's mum is a big Crowe fan, but the young star also wanted to put her mind at ease over the fact her son was about to pack up and move to the other side of the world.

"I wanted to bring my mum along so she could hear what sort of environment and situation I'd be going into next year," Burgess said.

"It'll probably make her feel a little bit more comfortable knowing that I'm going to be well looked after and I'm going to be in a nice spot with a nice group of guys.

"I've been thinking the last two years really, when to go.

"I signed a new contract with Bradford about 18 months ago, but in that contract I got a clause put in to leave to Australia at a certain stage.

"The time came to sign for Souths this year and I felt it was the right time. Here we are. I'm a Souths player in 2010."

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