South Sydney will be using John Sutton’s 250th game milestone as added motivation for breaking their four-game losing streak and beginning their climb up the NRL ladder.
A league powerhouse in recent years, the 13th-placed Rabbitohs face the daunting task of winning seven of their remaining nine games of the regular season just to hit the magical 28-point mark and make the finals.
It’s an equation made tougher by meeting reigning premiers North Queensland in Cairns on Sunday, however star forward Sam Burgess says Sutton’s milestone will give them added drive to turn their fortunes around.
Sutton, 31, will become the first player in club history to crack the 250-game mark.
“Especially with the history and how long the club’s been going, it’s just a credit to John,” Burgess said at Redfern Oval on Thursday.
“With how tough the game is today, what it demands on the body, to put in 250 at one club is fantastic.
“He’s been through some of the tough years, some of the worst years at Souths, and he’s experienced some of the better years as well. He knows what works and what doesn’t.
“He’s a huge part of the team and it’s been great having him back the last few weeks. He’s feeling better each week and I think he’ll be looking forward to a good game on Sunday.”
Burgess, who returned to his 2014 form with a two-try haul in a loss to Penrith last week, said the team was well aware of the predicament they were in with just over two months remaining in the season.
But he urged his teammates to focus solely on kick-starting their campaign against the Cowboys.
“We need to concentrate on ourselves, not worry about how long we’ve got and the scenarios and how many we need to win. It’s more about our performance this weekend,” he said.
The Rabbitohs are likely to get a huge boost by the return of Adam Reynolds, who has been named to play despite picking up what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury for NSW in State of Origin II last week.
The Blues No.7 missed the Rabbitohs’ loss to the Panthers on Saturday and has yet to train with the team all week, but his teammates were confident he would be playing in Cairns.
“He’s being a pest as usual and that’s always a good sign,” Burgess said.
“He’s tough and he’s not daft. We’ll be smart and make sure if he’s playing, he’s healthy. But signs are that he’s looking good.”