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South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett is confident ill-discipline won't be an ongoing issue for Sam Burgess this season after the English firebrand sailed close to the wind with a high tackle in Saturday's night’s 36-24 Charity Shield defeat of St George Illawarra.

The first-half tackle on Dragons winger Jordan Pereira was not worthy of being placed on report but Burgess was penalised after chasing hard on a kick and collecting the Kiwi high.

The incident occurred late in the first half as St George Illawarra started to gain control on the back of an increasing penalty count against the Rabbitohs and Bennett's men were told to curb their ways at the interval.

"I didn't need to say much. They realised what they were doing to themselves," Bennett said.

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett after the Charity Shield.
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett after the Charity Shield. ©Gregg Porteous./NRL Photos

"They were playing really good football and pretty much controlled the game, but they kept giving away penalties and it was killing us."

Bennett called out Burgess over discipline during his first series as England coach in 2016 but didn't think it would be ongoing issue at the Rabbitohs.

"Sam has to work on his discipline," Bennett said.

"He's 30 years old and one of the top players the game has ever seen. He understands what works and what doesn't. He just needs to take ownership of that.

"Sam has a great competitive instinct. He reminded me in the first half of someone who was maybe trying too hard. That was more of his problem than anything else.

"It was his first game of the year, he's excited and he wants to be a part of it all tonight. Five or six games into the season and he won't have that excitement, especially when he's waking up sore every Monday morning."

Burgess penalised for high tackle

The Rabbitohs will be without prop George Burgess for the first three rounds due to suspension but Bennett expects the team to otherwise be at full strength in the opening match against Sydney Roosters at the SCG.

Halfback Adam Reynolds (shoulder) did not play in the Charity Shield and hooker Damien Cook took on a greater responsibility for Souths in the kicking department.

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"He has a wonderful boot of him. I couldn't believe how well he could kick them, so we've been encouraging him to kick," Bennett said of Cook, who produced a 40/20 just after halftime, which led to a Cameron Murray try.

"Adam Reynolds is wonderful, but you can't have too many of those guys. He wants to kick, he stepped up tonight and made sure he kicked and he was very good."

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