Burgess solid in Souths' debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Burgess solid in Souths' debut

By Steve Jancetic 07/02/2010 09:59:00 PM Comments (0)

It was only 20 minutes but English import Sam Burgess packed enough into his cameo to suggest the hype may well be justified as South Sydney opened the NRL pre-season with a 42-12 win over Manly at Redfern Oval on Sunday.

In a game devoid of NRL regulars, Burgess was the star attraction for the home side, particularly after fellow Souths recruit David Taylor pulled out of the match with an ankle injury.

While there was enough drop ball to remind the members-only crowd that this was the first NRL trial of 2010, it hardly seemed to worry the Rabbitohs faithful eager to get a first glimpse of their $400,000 a year recruit.

And Burgess didn't disappoint either, with his first attempted hit threatening to knock giant Manly prop Junior Palau into the crowd lined balconies in adjoining Phillips Street.

Not deterred, Burgess launched himself a second time this time dislodging the ball from a bewildered Ben Shorter to the roar of the home crowd.

It was just as well Burgess was making an impact, with the Bunnies going down 12-0 after just five minutes, the first try coming after Souths winger Shaune Corrigan knocked the kickoff over the touch line.

While the big hits were eye-catching, the real interest was what Burgess could do with the ball.

He popped a nice ball which fullback Josh Mansour dropped when in open space, but playing alongside a bunch of players unlikely to see too much first grade this season, it was no surprise to see Burgess struggle to get into the flow of the game.

Then in a scene reminiscent of under-12s football it was 'everyone out of the way and give me the ball' as the powerhouse prop steamed over from short range to get the Rabbitohs on the board.

Burgess didn't see too much more time with coach John Lang resting his recruit at the end of the first quarter, but the Souths fans had plenty to cheer about as their side ran in eight unanswered tries including a 70-metre intercept to impressive halfback Adam Reynolds.

Elated to have finally donned the famous Souths colours, Burgess revealed he got a little emotional particularly during a pre-match walk around the ground alongside the man who brought him to Redfern - Rabbitohs co-owner and Hollywood star Russell Crowe.

"It feels good, it feels like it was meant to be," Burgess said of his whirlwind day, the first half of which was spent in camp with the NRL All Stars side.

"I'm just happy to be here. It's been an ambition to come over here for a bit and it's finally happening.

"When you have a dream you never as a kid think it's going to happen, but I'm over here and just enjoying myself."

Of his performance Burgess said there was still plenty to work on.

"I was a little bit off in a few tackles but I haven't played for three months so I expected that," said Burgess.

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