live Infotainment Factory: How banned Burgess is hurting NRL legacy

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

How banned Burgess is hurting NRL legacy


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Sam Burgess is harming his claims as the NRL's greatest English import with silly infractions, according to rugby league legends Brad Fittler and Peter Sterling.

Burgess will miss South Sydney's opening finals match after pleading guilty to pulling the hair of Roosters player Billy Smith on Thursday night.

It was the Rabbitohs captain's fifth charge in the past two seasons and his third this year alone, meaning this time he could not escape with a fine.

Fittler said on The Sunday Footy Show that Burgess' toughness was unquestionable, but the English forward sometimes "lacked control".

"I think a lot of people are sort of nervous about Sam going into the future," Fittler said.

"We love him playing in the NRL, he's a beauty. Great fella, so tough. The good thing is, he doesn't need to change the way he plays, we don't need to see anything different.

"The toughness isn't the thing that's holding him back. It's most probably the control.

"This is the reason that Sam's missing the semi-final, no other reason. The toughness doesn't have to go, just a little bit of control would be good."

Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs exchanges words with Billy Smith

The hair pull was Burgess' 16th NRL judiciary charge since 2010 and resulted in his 11th match banned. Sterling said that time missed through suspension may have a bearing on Burgess legacy, with the common analogy in sport that the best ability is availability.

"The one part of the legacy that might be tarnished is missing so many games. He loses the influence at the club that he's been such a huge part of," Sterling said on The Sunday Footy Show.

"These days you cannot (do those things) - there's 36 cameras zeroing in on everything (you do)."

Burgess produced the toughest performance of the modern era, winning the Clive Churchill Medal in South Sydney's 2014 grand final win by playing 80 minutes with a broken cheekbone. Yet he has come under increasing scrutiny for deliberate foul play.

The Burgess problem plaguing Souths

Melbourne great Billy Slater said that Burgess would be disappointed at copping another ban over such a trivial act, but was a player who thrived on the edge of the rules.

"It's quite strange you see Sam Burgess get off a (high tackle) charge earlier this year, that resulted in a concussion to Matt Moylan; (who) didn't play any further part in the game," Slater said on The Sunday Footy Show.

"But now he's going to be sitting on the couch watching his team play in the first final. He'd be disappointed with himself, Sam.

"I think (aggression) is what makes him so good. He plays on the edge, he's a tough player.

"When you have these type of players, they're always going to cross the line at some stage."

Fittler said that of Burgess ironed out needless niggle in his game, he could cement himself as the best Englishman to ever play in Australian rugby league. The quickest way to do that would be to win another premiership; yet Burgess will now miss the first match of South Sydney's 2019 finals campaign.

Fittler said that Burgess reminded him of his old Roosters premiership teammate, long-time judiciary poster boy Adrian Morley.

"I played with Adrian Morley. Very similar, and 'Moz' nearly got forced out of the game because of being a bit reckless; that's when they were clamping down on the game," Fittler said.

"The thing where Sam could go to the next level is winning another grand final. From a point of view of toughness, very similar to Moz.

"Most probably got a bit more footy than Adrian Morley, and I reckon they're the best two (imports). But if he could win another grand final, it's in ink (that Burgess is the greatest import)."

Sam Burgess is harming his claims as the NRL's greatest English import with silly infractions, according to rugby league legends Brad Fittler and Peter Sterling.

Burgess will miss South Sydney's opening finals match after pleading guilty to pulling the hair of Roosters player Billy Smith on Thursday night.

It was the Rabbitohs captain's fifth charge in the past two seasons and his third this year alone, meaning this time he could not escape with a fine.

Fittler said on The Sunday Footy Show that Burgess' toughness was unquestionable, but the English forward sometimes "lacked control".

"I think a lot of people are sort of nervous about Sam going into the future," Fittler said.

"We love him playing in the NRL, he's a beauty. Great fella, so tough. The good thing is, he doesn't need to change the way he plays, we don't need to see anything different.

"The toughness isn't the thing that's holding him back. It's most probably the control.

"This is the reason that Sam's missing the semi-final, no other reason. The toughness doesn't have to go, just a little bit of control would be good."

Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs exchanges words with Billy Smith

The hair pull was Burgess' 16th NRL judiciary charge since 2010 and resulted in his 11th match banned. Sterling said that time missed through suspension may have a bearing on Burgess legacy, with the common analogy in sport that the best ability is availability.

"The one part of the legacy that might be tarnished is missing so many games. He loses the influence at the club that he's been such a huge part of," Sterling said on The Sunday Footy Show.

"These days you cannot (do those things) - there's 36 cameras zeroing in on everything (you do)."

Burgess produced the toughest performance of the modern era, winning the Clive Churchill Medal in South Sydney's 2014 grand final win by playing 80 minutes with a broken cheekbone. Yet he has come under increasing scrutiny for deliberate foul play.

The Burgess problem plaguing Souths

Melbourne great Billy Slater said that Burgess would be disappointed at copping another ban over such a trivial act, but was a player who thrived on the edge of the rules.

"It's quite strange you see Sam Burgess get off a (high tackle) charge earlier this year, that resulted in a concussion to Matt Moylan; (who) didn't play any further part in the game," Slater said on The Sunday Footy Show.

"But now he's going to be sitting on the couch watching his team play in the first final. He'd be disappointed with himself, Sam.

"I think (aggression) is what makes him so good. He plays on the edge, he's a tough player.

"When you have these type of players, they're always going to cross the line at some stage."

Fittler said that of Burgess ironed out needless niggle in his game, he could cement himself as the best Englishman to ever play in Australian rugby league. The quickest way to do that would be to win another premiership; yet Burgess will now miss the first match of South Sydney's 2019 finals campaign.

Fittler said that Burgess reminded him of his old Roosters premiership teammate, long-time judiciary poster boy Adrian Morley.

"I played with Adrian Morley. Very similar, and 'Moz' nearly got forced out of the game because of being a bit reckless; that's when they were clamping down on the game," Fittler said.

"The thing where Sam could go to the next level is winning another grand final. From a point of view of toughness, very similar to Moz.

"Most probably got a bit more footy than Adrian Morley, and I reckon they're the best two (imports). But if he could win another grand final, it's in ink (that Burgess is the greatest import)."

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