Braidon Burns is confident and excited for this weekends’ match against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles after being named to take the field in what will mark his NRL debut.
Honoured to run out in the red and green jersey, Burns is focused on doing his job on the wing and looking for the Rabbitohs first win for 2017.
“I grew up following the Rabbitohs. It’s quite a big moment for me,” explained Burns.
“At the moment I am pretty confident. I’m happy that Madge told me at the start of the week so I could get my head around it but just taking every day as it comes just to get my body right.
“I’m a bit nervous but more excited than anything.”
Prior to signing with Souths, Burns played in the under 20s with the Penrith Panthers and since signing with the Rabbitohs, has described his experience as a step up. Looking to cement a spot in first grade, Burns’ personal goal is to play consistently with his main focus on this weekend.
“Obviously the contact is aggressive and a step up. The speed of the game is a lot quicker too.
“Long term I’m aiming to cement myself in the first grade side and play consistently but this weekend I am focused on just doing my job, as a back five you are expected to take the tough carries out of yardage and making reads on the plays.”
Burns has already had a taste of the NRL standard of play, taking the field in all preseason trial matches including the Auckland Nines. These games have seen Burns come up against teams full of players who are stars to the game including the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Tyson Frizell, Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Dugan just to name a few.
However for Burns, he has found a higher level of inspiration and direction through his teammates.
“The main thing I’ve learnt so far from the guys is their professionalism.
“You learn a lot from guys like Sammy (Burgess) and (Jason) Clarky, they help you to prepare for the whole week, you follow them in the sheds and see what they do and you pick up a lot of stuff to do with recovery and getting your body right for the weekend.”
Burns didn’t believe he would make his debut so early struggling with his confidence once identifying the depth in the Rabbitohs squad. Instead, he expected to learn from the experienced players around him and build on his own performances. Despite his earlier thoughts, Burns has proved to Coach Michael Maguire that he has what it takes to be named in the starting 13 and on top of being proud of his achievements so far, he is confident going into this weekend.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d play NRL.
“I came over here looking for an opportunity to play NRL, even then I still didn’t have the mindset that I was going to play this year or next year. It was sort of building myself for the years after my contract. I think it was a confidence thing and seeing that the Rabbitohs had a lot of depth.
“When signing I sort of didn’t understand where I would be, I knew I was going to be fulltime but I didn’t know to the extent of being in the locker room with Sammy, Greggy (Inglis) and guys like that.
“I went on Indigenous camp for the last two years with Greggy, obviously it would have been good to play with him and make the team with him in it and that’s a bit unfortunate but a lot of the other guys are still people that I look up to.
“When I came in to the Club and saw my name in the locker room it was quite a proud moment.”
Burns will be surrounded with immense support on Saturday with his little brother and Grandma flying in for the game. Also joining the cheer squad will be his girlfriend Kayla and housemate Brae Roebuck along with the Roebuck family who Burns describes as his second family.
“When I was at boarding school in Bathurst, he’s family sort of supported me. I lived with them on the weekends and they really looked after me.
“They are pretty much like my second family, they’ve been a really big help. Anything that I needed away from school they would support me with that.”