Burgess twins to step out of Sam's shadow
The most remarkable thing about George Burgess's 57th-minute grand final four-pointer, hailed as the equal of any try scored by a big man on the grandest stage of all?
Not that he made 120 kilos of English muscle shimmy to the left than shake to the right like Fred Astair, leaving James Graham – a man who makes 22 tackles for every one that he misses – in a cloud of red and green dust.
Nor that a split second later he broke through the tackle of Tony Williams like he was one of those Japanese rice paper walls rather than a 118kg NSW Origin second-rower.
It's not even that for all of Greg Inglis's might and power, the scheming of halves Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary and a backline packing more firepower than an NRA general meeting, it was a bloke with number 8 on his jumper that broke a 6-all deadlock and the serious momentum building behind the Bulldogs.
The most remarkable part of George's gallop to the try line was that the big fella wasn't even meant to be on the field.
"He was scheduled to come off; I was going to come on for him a minute or two before he took that carry but he just kept going," brother Tom told NRL.com.
"As he scored it I'm thinking 'he was just about to come off for me'. He'd just defended a lot of tackles and then came up with that.
"It just shows the mental strength of the bloke, to keep running like that when you've got nothing left in the tank.
"He's an inspiration... It sparks you, watching him do that. Every player in the team feeds of that, and we feed off each other."
Souths may only now be waving one Burgess off to rugby union with a Clive Churchill and a long awaited premiership in his keep, but the preparations to fill the monumental hole he will leave at Redfern began when Sam put pen to paper in February. Though the fruits of that labour were not on show in the contracts that will install former Origin forwards Tim Grant and Glenn Stewart at The Burrow, once the party that's been 43 years in the making dies down.
They were there in the 206 running metres and 28 tackles from younger brother George made either side of a whack on the melon from James Graham that would've put a mere mortal into next week. And they were there in the 181 metres and 25 tackles churned out by twin sibling Tom, matching his brother as they both produced their best performances yet in the cardinal and myrtle.
It's oh so easy to forget the pair that is set to prop the Rabbitohs in Sam's absence next season have only been turning out in the NRL for a bit under four years between them. And it's just as hard to believe we've seen the best of Britain's latest behemoths.
"If you ever think you can stop improving, that's when you're in trouble," Tom Burgess said.
"You're always looking to improve; and that's what I'll be doing next year, looking at my game, always trying to better myself.
"Hopefully George and I can step up to what Sam does for the team now that he's leaving. He'll be sorely missed but his legacy will live on forever."
It's a no-brainer, but you have to ask. What pray tell, is said legacy of Slammin' Sam; in the words of someone who's lived in the man's shadow, and is now ready to step out of it?
"He's just such a tough player," Tom responds.
"What can I say? He's just broken his cheekbone and gone 80 minutes with it. [There are] not many people who can be talked about like that.
"He'll go down in history as one of the greatest players for South Sydney and he deserves it. He deserves everything he gets because he's just put his whole life into this year. He wanted to leave with a premiership and now he's got the reward."