SOUTH Sydney star Sam Burgess will make a triumphant return to rugby league tonight, not that Manly coach Trent Barrett will be celebrating.
“It would be nice to spoil his night,” Barrett said.
Burgess was taken to hospital nearly a fortnight ago with possible neck injuries before being released after recovering from back spasms. He missed the Good Friday match against Canterbury but will return for this evening’s big match at Brookvale Oval.
Asked what Burgess gave Souths, Barrett said: “He brings a lot, not only with what he can do with the ball but the aura that he brings to the side.
“I think they feed off that and will get a lot of confidence having him back. We can’t control what they do but it would be nice to spoil his night though.
“We just have to make sure our backyard is in order and that we are doing everything we possibly can.”
Souths were behind 32-0 at halftime last week — an utterly embarrassing scoreline. Barrett knows though that the Rabbitohs will be seeking redemption.
“Yeah, definitely. They’ll be ready to hit back after last week. But it’s more about worrying about us, what we do and what we can control. We can’t control how they are feeling or what they’re going to do,” Barrett said.
“We just need to turn up with a really good attitude at home, which is an advantage and hopefully we can get a really good crowd to cheer the boys on.”
Barrett knows South Sydney will be angry after recent results.Source:News Corp Australia
Manly trained on Wednesday for the first time with new halves Dylan Walker and Api Koroisau, named at halfback with Daly Cherry-Evans (knee) out for a month.
“We haven’t had a session yet (this week),” Barrett said. “This will be our first session today. Api has spent a fair bit of time there during the pre-season as well.
“I have coached Api in the halves out at Penrith before. It’s nothing new to him, he played halfback in NSW Cup last week. We will iron out a few things this morning. This big focus for us will be defence. It needs to be spot-on, Souths have a big pack and we’ve got to stop them.
“It’s always hard when you lose your halfback but it’s no excuse for us. We’ve replaced him with someone we are really confident in. We have a good team around him. Seventeen blokes are going to have to play really well.”