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Sport Tom Burgess ready to lead Rabbitohs pack

22:35  21 february  2020
22:35  21 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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He's never played without his brothers, never averaged over 50 minutes, and never held a leadership position at South Sydney.

But Thomas Burgess is set to do all that and more if he produces more of the same as he did in a Friday's pre-season win over Parramatta.

Against an Eels line-up littered with NRL experience, the Rabbitohs fielded a squad mostly filled with reserve-graders and fringe first-graders.

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Burgess was the only player likely to make Wayne Bennett's team for round one, and he gave a glimpse of what life could be like as the Rabbitohs' pack leader.

He capped an impressive night off with a crucial second-half try.

"It's always good to get over," Burgess said.

"It was a young side obviously we had (Friday night). I was really happy to lead the boys out. I have to try and step up as a bit of a leader this year."

Tom Burgess poses during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL media opportunity at Redfern Oval. © Brendon Thorne/Getty Images Tom Burgess poses during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL media opportunity at Redfern Oval. Burgess shapes as a crucial key to the Rabbitohs' premiership hopes this year following the wealth of experience that departed the club over the summer.

Former captain and brother Sam, as well as veteran John Sutton, hung up the boots, while twin George also returned home to the Super League in England.

That leaves the 27-year-old Thomas as one of their most seasoned forwards, and the English international is well aware of the role he must now play in 2020.

"I always try and lead by actions, really. But as you get a bit older, you step up a little bit and be that bit of a voice as well on the field," he said.

The extra responsibility is likely to extend to more minutes on the field.

Having never averaged more than 45 minutes in his career, Thomas punched out around 50 minutes in his first appearance of the year on Friday.

"We didn't really have a massive plan going into it. We just sort of went, 'See how it goes, see how the game goes'," he said.

"Got that stint in the first half, but I felt really good.

"I stayed out there probably a bit longer and then second half, just I think the plan was 10 minutes and then we just stayed out there."

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