Nothing to worry about: Lang
RABBITOHS fans shouldn’t worry that new forwards Dave Taylor and Sam Burgess didn’t play in the club’s trial match against Gold Coast on Saturday night.
According to coach John Lang the late withdrawal of the pair was nothing more than a precautionary measure.
“If it was a grand final they would’ve both played but it’s not a grand final,” Lang said when asked about the absence of the two recruits.
“Dave has still got this lingering ankle while Sam sort of jinked his back early in the week and it was a bit sore from the All Stars game and it’s sort of still there.”
Being only February, Lang said that there was very little point in risking any players at this time of year.
“He (Burgess) played in the ‘Return to Redfern’ for 20 minutes and he played about 60 minutes last week and ran about 150 metres then we’ve got the Saints backing up again next week so we didn’t want to come in feeling battered and bruised for the start of the season,” the new coach said.
A lot has been said over the off-season about the strength of South Sydney’s best 17 but Lang admitted that it may be a few weeks until the top combination make it onto the paddock all at the same time.
“We had quite a few blokes who obviously didn’t quite get to the gate and that’s going to be our challenge I think early in the season,” he said.
“A number of our experienced blokes are going to come in with probably not a great off-season behind them as they’ve missed a fair bit.
“They will come in with probably the one game behind them but that’s just the way that it is. Crocker won’t be right for the start of the season but everyone else is a chance.” Key playmaker John Sutton played for only 40 minutes and the five-eighth is another player who is underdone but Lang was impressed with what he saw while Sutton was on the field.
“He’s probably really underdone but I thought his condition held up pretty well,” he said.
“He’s only been running for about two weeks.
“He’s come back from an operation and when he hurt his shoulder it hurt him to run so he’s done a lot of work in the gym and on the bike and all of that sort of stuff but he’s done very little running so I thought he had a good run.”