Sam Burgess in action for the Rabbitohs during their Round 14 clash with the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium. Credit: Colin Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Damaging South Sydney forward Sam Burgess almost failed to play against the Tigers on Friday night after suffering back spasms in the first five minutes of the warm-up.
Burgess, who finished the game with 191 metres and 25 tackles, earned praise from his coach Michael Maguire who labelled the English international's efforts as "inspirational".
"He came in after the warm-up and the doctors and physios sort of said I don't think he's going to be playing tonight and Sammy just said "I'll be out there". Right down to one minute before running out, Sammy was trying to get himself right and to do what he did tonight," Maguire said.
While the man-mountain was quick to talk down his coach's praise, Burgess admitted he went into the game not wanting to let his teammates down.
With the likes of Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o on Origin duty as well as Joel Reddy and Bryson Goodwin missing through injury, Burgess realised the importance of having as many senior players as possible out on the paddock.
"I had a bit of a spasm in the first five minutes of the warm-up. I've never had one before. I was pretty close to pulling out before the game because I didn't think I was going to make it but our chiropractor worked a bit of magic and got me out there," Burgess said.
"Once I went out there it was alright. Adrenalin took over.
"It's not just about me tonight. It was a great team effort. We did a good job. We have some young guys who went really well for us. I'm really proud of them."
Another reason that Burgess perhaps refused to pull out was the fact that he and his three brothers Luke, George and Tom were all named for the Rabbitohs for only the second time since they signed for the Redfern-based club, though his focus never waivers from the team as a whole.
"We have a close set of boys here. We train together. We have been together for years. It's really great playing with them week-in, week-out. We're just enjoying every moment together now," Burgess said.
"We are always striving to improve and get better though [as a team]. We have come back into a little bit of form but there are areas we can work on, like I don't think we executed as well as we could've done [against the Tigers]. We scored a few points so I think we're showing a bit of character which is a good sign for the team."
With the Rabbitohs' first bye of the season coming up next weekend, a relieved Burgess smiles at the thought of having a week off.
"I'm pretty sore and I'm looking forward to this bye and a few days off to rest up," he said.