Front rower Thomas Burgess cannot wait to get physical with someone other than his South Sydney Rabbitohs teammates as three months of build-up comes to a head against the Wigan Warriors on Saturday.
After posing for photos alongside Wigan and England captain Sean O’Loughlin in front of picturesque Sydney harbour, Burgess admits that the feeling of 'bashing' someone in another jersey is long overdue.
“It’s always exciting starting the new season again,” Burgess said, after being named in the starting line-up to run out at ANZ Stadium.
“When the trials start coming around everyone is getting ready to play. It is a long pre-season, especially if you are stating back in November.
“Instead of bashing each other at training you want to get out there and bash the other team, we’re all looking forward to Saturday.
“It’s going to be a great event with two English team coming out here in a double header at ANZ. It's going to be awesome.”
For many of the Souths players this is the first time that they have come up against an English Super League team.
Burgess has hands-on experience against the 2017 World Club Champions from earlier in his career, but the 25-year-old says the focus is fully on himself and his teammates.
“I’ve played against them a few times with Bradford,” he said.
“We had a win actually out there at Wigan Stadium so that was good. I’ll give a few little tips on the boys, not too many people know how they play, we’ll do video this week and work with the coaches.
“When it comes to trials we’ve just got to worry about us and what we’re doing but it will be fun out there. I’m sure there will be a bit of banter with the boys.”
It’s sure to be a tough challenge for the Grand Old Club, who are up against in-form opposition after the Cherry and Whites easily dispatched rivals Hull FC 24-10 last weekend in Wollongong.
As one of the seniors in the starting line up, Burgess will be asked to lead from the front but the Englishman believes that he is ready to take a leadership role and mentor his younger teammates.
“I’m continually growing as a player,” Burgess said.
“I’ve been at Souths for a few years so I’m happy to move forward into that role and start helping the younger boys and I’m happy to be starting on the weekend and I’m really looking forward getting a good start with the team and leading by example.
“The boys have been training really hard which is great and Anthony [Seibold] is doing a great job with the boys on and off the field.”
With his pre-season already set in motion, big Tom had just two simple goals in mind for the season.
“I’m just looking forward to being consistent each week and being reliable in the team and being a bit of a leader for the younger guys coming in and being a bit of a role model.”
Saturday 17 February at ANZ Stadium
Hull FC v St George Illawarra Dragons, kick-off 5.45pm
Wigan Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs, kick off 7.45pm
Public Transport is included with match tickets.