George Burgess to step up in Sam’s absence
Posted on 12/17/18 5:03 PM
George Burgess plans to step up for the Rabbitohs in the absence of suspended brother Sam.South Sydney are banking on George Burgess to burst from his big brother’s shadow and lead the Rabbitohs to an against-the-odds triumph over unbeaten NRL table-toppers St George Illawarra.
Chasing three straight wins of their own, Souths take on the high-flying Dragons on Friday night without their talismanic leader following Sam Burgess’s controversial two-week ban.
But with the English Test prop sidelined for dangerous contact to Josh Morris’ head or neck in last week’s win over Canterbury, Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold has thrown out the challenge to the younger Burgess twins Tom and George.
Especially George, who is reaping the rewards for being overlooked for last year’s World Cup.
Seibold says the twins’ vastly improved form in 2018 is “down to them in a lot of ways”.
“George was out training from day one of the pre-season,” he said on Thursday.
“He was very unfortunate not to be picked for England. He’s played for them in the past but in hindsight it was probably the best thing that’s happened to him.
“He had a really long pre-season. We did prepare him a bit differently. We took a real individualised approach with George during the pre-season and he’s started really well.
“The next challenge is now to start. Starting front row tomorrow night against the Dragons; against James Graham, (Paul) Vaughan and (Jack) de Belin.
“He’s been good off the bench but I want to see how he goes starting. It’s a good challenge.”
Burgess and the rest of the Souths pack have been charged with minimising the damage that the Dragons’ in-form halves pairing of Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt wreak at Jubilee Oval.
Seibold is making no secret of the Rabbitohs’ plan to apply pressure on Widdop and Hunt.
“Most teams will talk about during the week having inside pressure on Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop,” Seibold said.
“We need to try and limit their time so certainly we’re no different.
“It’s the same for Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker. The Dragons forwards will have inside pressure.
“It’s about trying to make them play on our terms, not their terms.
“We certainly know the trends in their game but, as I said to the players, knowing them is one thing and getting out there and limiting their threats is another.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Rabbitohs have a terrible record at Kogarah, winning just one of their past six there.
* These two teams are making the most metres in the competition, with South Sydney averaging 1500 per game and the Dragons 1486.
* Jason Nightingale will play his 250th game after making his debut in round eight, 2007 against the Panthers at Kogarah. He is just the third player to play 250 games for St George Illawarra behind Ben Hornby (273) and Ben Creagh (270).