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Sport NRL 2020: Rabbitohs looking forward to grudge match against Roosters after nightmare lockdown period

11:45  26 may  2020
11:45  26 may  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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James Roberts has made a return to training with the Rabbitohs , placing him in contention for selection next week in his side's round three clash against rivals the Roosters . Roberts' return comes just over a week since it was confirmed the embattled centre checked himself into a rehabilitation facility recently.

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Tom Burgess holding a football ball © Provided by Sporting News

No one in the NRL seemingly had a tougher coronavirus break than the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The club has been struck down by a series of setbacks, with Origin representatives Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker sanctioned for off-field incidents whilst James Roberts checked himself into rehabilitation in order to help deal with mental health issues.

However, the club is raring to go as they prepare to restart their season against arch-rivals Sydney Roosters, with front-rower Tom Burgess eager to resume hostilities after gaining a greater appreciation for the sport.

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“Yeah, it is great to come back, everyone is excited as you can imagine,” he told media on Tuesday.

“It’s not affected us really, there no real dialogue going through our team to suggest that,

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“I think our attitude has been great…you come away from it for a couple of weeks and you realise how good you’ve got it and it gives you a bit more appreciation for what you do.

“It’s all out of the window when Souths and Roosters play each other. It’s always a great game and it’s always like that no matter what’s been happening in the league,

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“It’s a great rivalry and nice bragging rights across the area.”

Captain Adam Reynolds is very familiar with the rivalry between the two clubs, eager to make their fans and members proud in his first clash as captain.

“Born and raised in Redfern, grown up here my whole life…I went to school with blokes from the Roosters so we’ve always had that banter and rivalry right through to first grade,” he said.

“It’s all about territory and they try and steal it from us,

“For us, it’s about making our members and fans proud by playing the best football that we can.”

The main talking point heading into the match will be Latrell Mitchell's first game against his old side, where the 22-year-old won two premierships.

Mitchell has had a tough pre-season and shutdown period, with ALRC commissioner Peter V'landys admitting on Monday that he 'feels sympathetic' for what he has gone through.

However, Burgess was confident that the Australian international would bounce back to his best, revealing that he looked fit and fast during training.

“Yeah he’s great, he’s been training really well,” he said.

“Everyone knows how talented he is as a player but he’s just looking really good, really happy,

“I’m looking forward to him going up against his old club.

“He looks fit to me, he’s definitely running fast out there.

“It probably wasn't great for him to have the stop, he just wanted to continue and keep that momentum going so I think he’s going do that for the rest of the season.”

Whilst Mitchell is a certainty to line up against his old side, Roberts status remains up in the air, with the speedster only returning to training over the weekend.

Whether he plays or not is irrelevant according to Burgess and Reynolds, who was simply pleased to see him happy and healthy.

“He’s got his thing that he needs to do and he’ll work things out, whether he plays this week we’ll see," he said.

“It’s good to have him back and see him well,

“The main thing is when you get to the core of it is his welfare and it’s great to see him well and smiling and being around the boys which is probably best for him."

“He puts smiles on faces when he turns up, he’s always full of energy when he’s around us," Reynolds added.

“He’s a big part of our team…he’s happy and healthy at the moment which is the main thing for us.”

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Roosters star pays tribute to Bronson Xerri .
Kyle Flanagan appeared to pay tribute to his former teammate Bronson Xerri when he threw up an X symbol.Flanagan crossed over under the posts following a well placed grubber from Brett Morris which extended the Roosters' lead at the time.

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