People bag Sam Burgess for letting South Sydney down through his spate of suspensions. The fact is the Rabbitohs would not be in the NRL finals’ race if it wasn’t for him.
Plenty have been quick to put the boot into Sam Burgess again this week and question if his spate of suspensions has become a liability that South Sydney can no longer afford
I would still argue the inspirational Englishman would be up with Josh Jackson in my grand final when it comes to selecting the Dally M Captain of the Year.
I have no doubt the Rabbitohs would not even be alive in the finals race if it weren’t for Burgess’s influence on and off the field.
It is not just the fact Sam is one of the toughest men to ever play the game that makes him so valuable.
Greg Inglis’s emotional final years it was Burgess who, along with John Sutton, held this group together.
The other thing that is probably not given enough credit is there aren’t many other clubs which could have overcome the loss of a player as significant as Inglis so early in the season and still finish in the top four, regardless of the fact Souths picked up James Roberts.
It is not as if the Rabbitohs have had a great run with injuries, either.
Yet there is a strength within this squad, which was highlighted again in their comeback win over the Sydney Roosters, that has been built directly on the back of Burgess’s character more than any other player or official.
You just have to look at the way a journeyman like Liam Knight, who couldn’t cement a spot at three previous NRL clubs, has developed into the game’s most improved forward in a few short months alongside Burgess.
That’s not to say Sam can’t learn from his mistakes. But I still wouldn’t swap him for any other forward in the game.