NRL: Rabbitohs determined to spoil Warriors finals hopes

By Dale Budge

Sam Burgess talks to the Rabbitohs against the Canberra Raiders. Photo / Getty Images
Sam Burgess talks to the Rabbitohs against the Canberra Raiders. Photo / Getty Images

The Rabbitohs might not have a finals berth on the line but their leading players are adamant they have plenty to play for against the Warriors on Saturday night.

South Sydney will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011 but will pose a serious threat to a Warriors side looking to record back-to-back victories and keep their finals destiny in their own hands.

Star Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess believes the Rabbitohs will be highly motivated for the round 23 clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

"It is easy really," Burgess says of getting up for the game. "Every athlete playing professionally is extremely competitive and as soon as you cross that line all that energy comes back and the competitive nature makes you forget the situation you find yourself on the ladder.

"We are trying to improve and finish as well as we can as a team."

Burgess' return to the NRL this season has been a disappointing one. Regarded as one of the premier players in the game when he won the premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014 before going on to make a code switch to rugby union, Burgess has struggled to reach the same heights upon his move back to Sydney this season.

He says he is determined to hit some form personally before the end-of-season Four Nations campaign with England.

"I want to play some good footy. I want to enjoy the time that I've got with the players that are playing this season because some are moving on.

"I want to get into the best form I can.

"Obviously we don't have finals to look at so certainly I know it [the Four Nations] is there. I want to play good footy and keep some form and take it into the Four Nations.

Burgess says the team isn't focused on 2017 yet and says talk of a player clean out at the club ahead of 2017 is not something he has been made aware of.

"As a player we just get on with our job at training and on the field. Those decisions aren't down to us - the coaching staff and board make those decisions."

One rumour is that younger brother Thomas is being shopped to rival clubs but Sam Burgess says there is no plan to split the three brothers up.

"No there is no truth to that. It is just in the rumour mill. We don't know anything about that.

"I enjoy playing with them but not only my brothers but you form a special bond with any player you play with. For now it is out of our hands and we'll just enjoy our time together on the field."

Meanwhile NSW State of Origin halfback Adam Reynolds is preparing for a tough encounter against the eighth-placed Warriors.

"We are up against a physical side this week and they are playing some good footy," Reynolds says. "We have to make sure we prepare well and turn up with the right attitude."

Reynolds, who made his Origin debut this year, is mindful of a head-to-head battle with Kiwis halfback Shaun Johnson.

"He is a great player - he has won the Golden Boot," Reynolds says of his opposite. "He is a terrific player and he has an aura about himself. He, along with the rest of the team, is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment.

"They are coming off a good win and we will need to prepare well and turn up with the right attitude."

- NZ Herald

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