28th February 2018, 09:18 | englandrl

Home & Away: Tom Burgess

Home & Away: Tom Burgess

By Steve Mascord

Ahead of the start of the NRL season, rugby-league.com columnist Steve Mascord catches up with South Sydney Rabbitohs and England forward Thomas Burgess...

rugby-league.com: Still undefeated in the pre-season, Tom, with a win over Wigan followed by a narrow one in the Charity Shield against St George Illawarra?

Thomas Burgess: “It was a good hit-out. We got through a lot of work. The Dragons were a really strong side as well, they’ve got a really strong side this year. It was just a really hard fought game in hot, steamy conditions. Both teams were struggling at different stages. We were just really lucky to grind a win out. We’ve still got things to work on, we’ve got two weeks now until the start of the season. It was good. There’s a few English lads in the Dragons team this year, Gaz (Gareth Widdop) and Jammer (James Graham). I talked to them after the game. They’re really excited for the season too.”

RLC: Is it true your brother can answer your phone with facial recognition?

TB: “Yeah, yeah. Crazy, isn’t it? I just got the new phone, the iPhone 10X, and we were on the bus. I thought about it before. George was sat a few rows down. I said ‘George, see if you can open my phone. Test it out. He just, straight away, opened it. I said ‘do it again, do it again’ and he just kept doing it. Every time. I think I actually remember that when they brought it out that they’d improved the security of the phone so much that no-one can unlock your phone, really … except if you’ve got an identical twin. It’s funny. I’ve just got to be careful with my phone around him, haven’t I?”

RLC: What were your thoughts on the game against Wigan and the whole idea of playing a Super League game in Australia?

TB: “I thought it was great. Obviously we train at Redfern and we have open sessions all the time and we had a lot of English fans come down. It was great to see the support, everyone travelling over. It was great to see so many Hull FC fans, especially. They were mad for it. Anything like that, it’s good for the game, growing it. We caught up with a few of the boys, they enjoyed it over here. It’s just a good thing. It’s good to try new things. We (Souths) did something similar back in ’15. We went over there, three NRL teams. Obviously their season starts a bit earlier. It’s bit of a funny one for them because they’re already in season. They’ll probably review it and see what all the clubs thought but I think it’s a good thing.”

RLC: Did it remind you a bit of home? I guess things are pretty serious in the NRL right now…

TB: “Fans are all the same – they love it. It was great to meet a few of them over here. Keep it going. Maybe we could get a pre-season tournament, maybe. Meet somewhere different. Imagine a pre-season tournament in America. That’d be cool.”

RLC: How closely are you following news of the Denver Test?

TB: “I think it’s a good opportunity. Obviously Australia have a year off after the World Cup and New Zealand and us are free to play that weekend. It’s a stand-alone Origin weekend. There are no games – a perfect time. What a way to grow the game and take it America. We want it to grow over there because we ultimately want to get a league over there and the World Cup, the one after the next, will probably most likely be over there.

RLC: Are you worried some players might get pressured not to go?

TB: “If any clubs want to stop players representing their country, you’ve got to start looking at the clubs. Obviously the clubs have got their own priorities but at the end of the day, you want to play for your country and any chance you get to do that, you should be allowed. There’s no dramas over here, I don’t think, and there shouldn’t be any over there really.”