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Last Burgess standing eager for second grand final

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2nd October, 2021
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A lot has happened to Tom Burgess in the seven years since the South Sydney forward last played in an NRL grand final but he’s hoping for a similar outcome.

If a week is a long time in rugby league, than seven years is a lifetime.

That’s definitely how it feels for South Sydney’s Tom Burgess as he prepares for Sunday’s NRL grand final against Penrith.

When Burgess won the 2014 decider with the Rabbitohs he was a carefree 22-year-old coming off the interchange bench in a team that also featured his twin George and older brother Sam.

Both of his siblings are no longer at Redfern and Burgess is only too aware he’s going into his second grand final appearance from a much different place in his life.

“22 last time, single, not a care in the world and now I’ve got two young daughters, I’m getting married, that sort of thing,” Burgess told AAP.

“It’s a totally different experience for me.

“Just going to be different afterwards as well, be with my family and that. I’m sure I’ll be with the boys as well.

“In the team hopefully I can share my experience with the lads and give them a bit of confidence.”

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Burgess says he often jokes Sam stole a Clive Churchill medal off his twin brother in that 30-6 thumping of Canterbury in 2014.

The courage his older brother showed in playing out the game despite fracturing an eye socket and cheekbone early in the match still gives Burgess inspiration, however.

“He’s always been a good guide for us through our lives and that hasn’t stopped since he retired,” Burgess said.

“It just showed in that game, through adversity, you can do anything.

“He broke his cheekbone in the first tackle and went on to win the Clive Churchill.

“The mind’s a very strong thing…if I can think it, I can do it.”

Burgess’ wait for another grand final may not be as lengthy as that of teammate Benji Marshall – who will play a decider 16 years after winning the 2005 title with Wests Tigers – but it makes him only too aware not to take the opportunity for granted.

“I know that personally now,” he said.

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“It doesn’t come around often and you’ve got to take your chances when you get them.

“We’ll be leaving it all out there on Sunday.”

© AAP

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