Brave Burgess wins Churchill Medal

Sam Burgess, this year's Clive Churchill Medal Winner, is living proof the rugby league gods love nothing more than watching history repeat itself.

Some 44 years after John  Sattler played out 70 minutes of the 1970 decider with a broken jaw, leading the Rabbitohs to a famed victory over Manly, Sam produced the biggest performance of his career with a fractured cheekbone sustained in the very first hit-up of the game won 30-6 by the cardinal and myrtle.

Belted in an accidental head clash with his great mate and famed sparring partner James Graham, which ensured one last 'Battle of the Brits' kicked off in explosive style, Burgess powered his way through 80 minutes despite looking like he'd gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

With the Dogs and Graham throwing both the kitchen and bathroom sinks at the Rabbits, and the game in the balance up until the final 10 minutes, Burgess churned out 225 metres (second only to Greg Inglis) and 36 tackles, each one packed with dynamite. 

And for all his fire and brimstone, might and power, it was a play in the 54th minute, oh so subtle in its brilliance that summed up Burgess's contribution.

A Josh Reynolds grubber destined for Canterbury hands was dabbed from the No. 6's boot with scores level at 6-apiece and the Dogs on the attack.

Putting aside the fact half his face was shattered, the pressure of 83,833 screaming fans and the grandest stage of his life, Burgess reeled in the Steeden with a slips catch worthy of a baggy green and a start in Michael Clarke's cordon.

In his last game of league before departing for the 15-man code, the 25-year-old bows out as the pre-eminent forward in the game, and with many proclaiming him the greatest British import the Australian game has seen.

Sattler delivered the highest possible praise for the big Brit after the match, after Burgess admitted the former Souths captain and the last premiership winning side from 1971 were an "inspiration" to him.

"It's just absolutely marvellous. His performance tonight and all throughout the season has just been one of unbelievable magnitude," Sattler told Channel Nine after the match.

"He's what South Sydney is all about. He's the one who wrote the book, and Sam's name will be written in it."

Humble to a tee, Burgess deflected praise to his teammates who had ended Souths' 43-year title drought in brutal circumstances over the Bulldogs.

"I'm accepting this award on behalf of my team," Burgess said.

"It's been a journey that we've been through all year, as a team of 30 players, one player probably doesn't deserve this, so I'm accepting on behalf of my team."

The block-busting lock forward also reserved special mention for his family and in particular his mother Julie. 

Equally deserving of the fans' adulation were twin brothers George and Tom, who combined for a phenomenal 387 running metres as the trio powered through the Dogs' middle time and again. The three brothers ran for a total of 612 metres between them - more than half of the Bulldogs' entire 1085 metres.