South Sydney are hopeful Sam Burgess hasn’t suffered a serious neck injury after he was taken off in a medicab in the Rabbitohs’ 8-6, round three loss to St George Illawarra at the SCG on Sunday.
Burgess was injured in a legal tackle in the 58th minute and lay prone at the southern end of the iconic venue for an extended period as he was treated by medical personnel.
The dual international was taken to nearby St Vincent’s Hospital to have scans but Souths coach Michael Maguire said the fact Burgess could move his limbs was a positive sign.
“The doc is pretty positive and Sam is in a pretty good head space from what I was told,” Maguire said.
“He had some tingling down one arm (but) he had movement (in all his limbs) they are the first signs you look for when you have an incident like that.
“He was in a bit of pain, he sort of got compressed there quite heavily.”
Souths captain Greg Inglis said he struggled to watch on as Burgess lay on the ground.
“You don’t want to see any player go down like that, it is very worrying,” Inglis said.
The serious incident overshadowed what was a tough, grinding game of rugby league at the rain-drenched iconic venue before 17,824 fans.
The sides traded tries in the first half through Souths’ Alex Johnston in the 13th minute and his fellow winger Dragons’ flyer Jason Nightingale in the 22nd minute for the only four pointers of the game.
In the end the difference was a Gareth Widdop penalty goal just before the break.
Despite an exciting second stanza no points were scored as the Dragons held on for their first win of the year with Widdop leading the way. Josh Dugan was also impressive in his return to the fullback role.
The defeat was Souths’ first of the season.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor said his side had returned to their defence-based play that was so successful last season after losses to Melbourne and Cronulla over the first two rounds.
“We responded really well, I could not be prouder,” he said.
“We have been copping it a bit especially about last week’s result.
“Last week was out of chart and the way they responded in those conditions was outstanding … those conditions you don’t get much worse.”
Souths coach Michael Maguire said his club’s slickness over the first two rounds went missing.
“The clinical parts of our game and the polish wasn’t there at times,” he said.
Rabbitohs three-quarter Kirisome Auva’a was put on report for a 65th minute ‘crusher’ tackle.
Dragons playmaker Benji Marshall was a late withdrawal, with Josh McCrone filling in capably, Marshall is expected to be fit for round four.
In a bizarre ending to the match, superstar fullback Greg Inglis – seemingly thinking the scores were all tied up – attempted a field goal on the final play of the game.