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Premiership-winning forward Roy Asotasi has paid Rabbitohs team-mate Sam Burgess the ultimate compliment, describing him as one of the best forwards he has played with in his 200-game career.
Burgess has been a key figure in South Sydney’s surge to the top of the competition table through nine rounds and continues to establish himself as one of the best English players ever to play in Australia.
During his five years at the Bulldogs Asotasi played alongside the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Willie Mason, Steve Price and Andrew Ryan but insists the inspirational Burgess is high among their company.
“He bleeds red and green and that’s something that all the boys love about Sam,” Asotasi told Big League. “If there’s one player that you want to go to war or into battle with it would definitely be Sammy because he’ll definitely have your back. That’s the type of player you want in your team and we all aspire to try to do the same.
“He’s probably one of the best products to come out of the UK. Sam left the UK early in his career and he’s well and truly excelled in the NRL and he’s probably one of the best forwards in the game.
“To be playing alongside Sammy and to go back to your question, he’s probably one of the best forwards I’ve ever played with.”
Despite the high intensity in which he plays, Burgess has missed just 82 minutes so far in 2013 and has played 80 minutes in each of the past three weeks. He is averaging 139 metres and 31 tackles per game and continues to find a way to defy what the human body is normally capable of.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete, to be able to do the things he’s doing,” said Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire. “There are times when I’m probably looking to bring him off but he seems to be able to find a way through that pain barrier or fatigue barrier and come out the other end.
“When times get tough he gets more excited. Whatever you put in front of him he just puts his head down and goes hard, so he’s a good person to have in your team.”