Michael Maguire has confirmed Sam Burgess will lead South Sydney this weekend despite a rib injury which sparked fears his NRL season was done.
And the coach says veteran Robbie Farah has accepted his benching for rising hooker Damien Cook against Canberra on Saturday.
The Rabbitohs held their breath when Burgess was taken from the field after a heavy tackle in last week’s loss to Cronulla, but the captain has since been cleared of broken ribs.
“He’s done some light training this week but I think most players at some stage get a bit of a rib injury and he’s no different,” Maguire told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
“Sam’s tough and like all the forwards they get back out there.”
Maguire praised Burgess’ impact on the team despite the captain leading the club in errors and penalties given.
“Sam’s effort is shown every week,” he said.
“I think sometimes that effort probably boils over into trying a few things, pushing a pass here and there and things like that, but as a leader on the park he’s brilliant.”
Maguire has made a number of changes to the 14th-placed side ahead of the Raiders clash at ANZ Stadium, shifting Cody Walker from fullback to five-eighth which pushes John Sutton into the second row.
The coach said 33-year-old Farah was understanding about his benching and the younger Cook will bring speed out of dummy-half.
“He (Farah) understands,” Maguire said.
“I’ve got a really good, open relationship with all of my players and we discuss the reasons why.
“Obviously that’s between myself and the player but he was aware of why. We’ve just got to move forward now.”
Speedy winger Alex Johnston has been put into his favourite position of fullback in the hope that Walker and halfback Adam Reynolds gel in attack.
South Sydney sit four wins outside the top-eight with six rounds to go and still have matches to come against the Eels and Storm, among others.
Maguire wouldn’t be drawn into reflecting where the season derailed and was unwilling to accept a finals flunk.