Rabbitohs prop forward, George Burgess, may only be a week back at training, but that’s all the time he has needed to be impressed by his teammates' fitness levels.
While a handful of Rabbitohs – including George – plied their trade for their countries in the Four Nations tournament at the end of 2014, the rest of the red and greens were testing themselves against the tough terrain of Arizona in the USA during a high altitude training camp – punctuated by hikes of the Grand Canyon and Mount Humphries.
The effects of that camp – coupled with the regular regimen of Michael Maguire’s pre-season training schedule – are clear to see in the eyes of Burgess.
“I came back last week and the boys are just flying,” said George.
“The fitness levels are just a lot higher than they were last year I think, and it’s clear to see from my point of view – coming back a bit behind the eight ball. I’ll have to catch up to them pretty soon.”
George led from the front in his 23 appearances in 2014, making 346 runs for a total of 3502 metres with the ball in hand and scoring three tries.
The Rabbitohs prop also proved to be one of the toughest men to handle in the game, with his 120kg frame punching holes in opposition defences by making 75 tackle breaks, while also making a total of 631 tackles (second in the side only to brother Sam).
After returning to training last week, Burgess says that he is working hard to return to peak fitness for the Club’s 2015 campaign.
“I feel pretty good,” said George.
“I’m just doing a few extra sessions with the trainers and coaching staff to get me back to my fitness. I’m hoping it won’t take too long – only a couple of weeks.”
Burgess also expressed his desire to get plenty of game time during the Club’s pre-season playing schedule, including the Auckland Nines.
“I don’t know the situation with the Nines team,” admitted George.
“But I’d definitely love to play it – it looks like a great weekend. From watching last year I was pretty envious of those players playing.
“I’d like to play in all the games if I can, but I’ll see how the body pulls up.”