Ball control the top focus for Burgess
It's no secret that ball handling has been one of the biggest issues for South Sydney this season, and with the Rabbitohs set to miss the finals for the first time since 2011, prop Tom Burgess admits it's an area of his game that he must improve.
Burgess is hardly the worst offender at the club, with the Englishman producing nine errors so far in 2016, 14 fewer than his older brother Sam.
In fact, compared to the 19 he made 12 months ago, the 24-year-old is having a vastly improved season when it comes to his handling of the Steeden.
Following his side's 20-12 loss to the Sea Eagles on Monday night – where he made one error – Burgess said his ball security in contact was his biggest concern and an area he would try to rectify over the next six weeks.
"It's not a very nice feeling for me at the moment. I feel like I've had a pretty average season," he said.
"There are a few things that I need to keep working on to get my game right. That's where my focus is at the moment.
"Most teams now are probably going to come at me and attack the ball, and that's something I've got to deal with and something that I've got to continually adapt in my game."
Now in his fourth NRL season, Burgess admitted his running style had made him a target for defenders as evidenced by the shot Manly's Jake Trbojevic put on him to force an early error on Monday night.
"As I become a more notable player in the game, players are going to do more research on me, so that's something I need to work on and it's definitely affected me this year," he said.
"You come out here and you're relatively unknown as an English player, so the more games you play, people start to know your strengths and weaknesses.
"Teams have probably looked at that this year and thought 'we'll attack the ball because he's got a loose carry'."
Burgess refused to shy away from the fact he had to improve his handling, and embraced the prospect of having to alter his carry at this stage of his career.
"It's a challenge, and that's one thing I'm continually trying to do at training is to work on my protection in the carry," Burgess said.
"My goal each week is to protect the ball… players know that. I'm not bothered about saying it in front of the cameras, and that's one thing that I'll continually keep working on and all I can do is look at the next week and try to do it better that week.
"As hard as it is sometimes, if you've let the team down, you've got to get past it and move on to what you need to do for the team and what's best for the team.
"We've just got to look after the ball, that's all we can do."