The return of Sam Burgess has been marred by an injury to his brother Tom in South Sydney’s 22-20 NRL trial win over the Titans on the Gold Coast.
Sam Burgess emerged unscathed from his first match since the 2014 grand final in an encouraging 60-minute display capped by a second-half try.
But the same could not be said for his brother, who had to be helped from the field in the 54th minute after suffering a suspected leg injury.
Tom Burgess appeared try-bound on Saturday night before finally being overwhelmed by the Titans’ defence, only to stay down after the tackle clutching his leg.
It was another headache for South Sydney coach Michael Maguire, who opted not to use halfback Adam Reynolds as he recovers from a foot injury suffered in the All Stars match.
But it could be worse for Maguire.
A hush went over the Pizzey Park crowd of more than 6000 in the eighth minute when South Sydney captain Greg Inglis appeared to be hurt in a spear tackle.
Titans backrower Zeb Taia was placed on report after Inglis landed on his head and stayed down.
He received treatment before finding his feet and clutching his neck, but he was given the all-clear and played out the match, even chiming in for a 58th-minute try.
But the limelight was always going to be on Sam Burgess.
Fans didn’t have to wait long for the dual international to get involved after he took the match’s third hit-up.
A ruddy-faced Burgess soon had his hands on his hips, but still didn’t let anyone down in a first-half display in which he pulled off a big hit on Nathan Friend and denied a try-bound Ryan James.
Burgess threw the ball around in the second half, even putting in a kick before his attacking attitude was rewarded with a try in the 55th-minute.
Gold Coast grabbed a 14-10 halftime lead after pivot Tyrone Roberts had a hand in two of their three tries.
Roberts had to step up after the Titans lost halfback Ash Taylor (shoulder) before the match.
Luke Keary impressed as he slotted in for Reynolds, setting up two of the Rabbitohs’ three first-half four-pointers before tries to Burgess and Inglis iced the result.