Arguably the only South Sydney fan not happy with Sam Burgess’ impressive NRL return after their 22-20 trial win over the Gold Coast Titans was the man himself.
Dual international Burgess admitted he finally felt like he was “home” again after pulling on the Rabbitohs jersey for the first time since the 2014 grand final.
But the hard-marking Burgess did not give himself a pass grade in his first game since an ill-fated English rugby stint despite a stellar 60 minute display capped by a second half try on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
He even wondered what all the fuss was about, at one stage pleading with post-match media to tone down their excitement over his return.
“I am happy with the win but not too happy with my performance overall,” Burgess said.
“The lungs were screaming in the first 20 but I came through in the second half.”
Burgess admitted to extra nerves ahead of his comeback match – not that it showed.
“I am always nervous before a game but there were probably a few more – it was good to blow off some cobwebs,” he said.
“But in the change room with the guys, staying at the hotel with the team and staff and everyone, and back playing league – it certainly feels like home.”
However, his over-riding post-game emotion was surprise over the media frenzy his return had caused.
“Ease off a bit, if not for me but for all the club and the team as well,” he pleaded with the media.
“We just need to chill out. It’s not a circus.”
Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis clearly didn’t get the memo.
“It’s always good to have Sammy back in the side,” Inglis gushed.
“It’s the first time I have played alongside him in two years so it’s about reconnecting with him again.
“I look forward to the season ahead with him.
“I love having Sammy there but it is a team effort.”
Inglis said he had no complaints despite being the victim of an eighth-minute spear tackle that earned a booking for Titans backrower Zeb Taia.
“It was just one of those things. I dealt with it. I pulled up fine,” Inglis said.
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said the same for Burgess’ brother Tom who had his left ankle heavily iced post match after being helped off the field in the 54th minute.
“We were lucky. Tommy came off but he got the okay,” Maguire said.
“He’s fine. He tweaked an ankle he has had an issue with but he should be fine to go around (in round one) so that’s a positive.”
Maguire also gave Adam Reynolds (foot) the all clear for round one after resting the halfback on Saturday night.