'Awful to see': NRL opener rocked by frightening Tom Burgess moment

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Tom Burgess, pictured here being stretchered from the field wearing a neck brace.
Tom Burgess was stretchered from the field wearing a neck brace. Image: Fox Sports/Getty

South Sydney's loss to Melbourne in the NRL season-opener on Thursday night has been compounded by a nasty injury to Tom Burgess.

Burgess was taken from the field on a stretcher wearing a neck brace after an innocuous incident late in the game at AAMI Park.

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The hulking front-rower stayed down clutching his neck and shoulder after coming down hard while attempting to make a tackle.

Play was stopped for several minutes while medics attended to the British forward, who was then taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Thankfully, Souths coach Wayne Bennett said medical staff were confident it wasn't serious.

"He's got a pretty stiff neck and his arm doesn't have all the strength there at the moment but the doctor doesn't think it's too bad, more of a burner-type situation," Bennett said in his post-match press conference.

The NRL Physio Twitter account added: "Confirmation from the Rabbitohs of a suspected neural injury (burner) for Tom Burgess, still in quite a bit of pain.

"Good signs able to move all limbs. Mechanism more suggestive of nerve impingement/pinch, if no significant disc bulge in neck symptoms usually settle within a week."

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Burgess later posted a positive update on Instagram.

“Hey guys, thanks for the messages of concern, I’m all good,” he wrote.

“CT scans have come back clear but have to keep this lovely thing on till the morning to rule out any serious nerve damage which can only be seen from an MRI scan.

“Could be a long night in Melbourne here but would rather be safe than sorry! How good the footy is back eh.”

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Fans had earlier flocked to social media to wish Burgess well after the frightening scenes.

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Bennett blasts Souths after opening round loss

Bennett challenged his team to do better in the big games if they want to return to premiership success.

The Rabbitohs were left chasing a 22-0 lead against Melbourne and while getting to within six, they were forced to settle for a 26-18 loss.

Bennett described their first half as "awful" and said his team didn't give themselves a chance, completing at 62 per cent and with 15 errors.

"I was pleased for 30 minutes and then we self destructed again," Bennett said.

"We had a chance to win and then did all the stupid things. We played for 30 minutes, and the other 50 we were just wasting our time."

Tom Burgess, pictured here being taken from the field during South Sydney's loss to Melbourne.
Tom Burgess was taken to hospital after the scary moment in South Sydney's loss to Melbourne. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

He said they needed to be able to go 80 minutes with the competition heavyweights if they had hopes of going further than last season's preliminary final defeat.

While Souths hadn't won at AAMI Park in nine previous attempts, they came to Melbourne with high hopes after being a stand-out in the pre-season.

"I know what the team is capable of, I've seen enough but we've got to get to these big games and do better than we do and that's the challenge for us."

Bennett said if there was any hype around his team, he was glad it was now gone.

"There could have been a bit of hype but there will be no hype around them now or for the next week or so, which will be good," he said.

with AAP

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