Why Burgess boys are so vital to Souths’ hopes
THREE hundred and fifty is the golden number that can make or break South Sydney's season.
Stunning Fox Sports Stats reveal how important the three Burgess brothers will be to the Rabbitohs' chances of winning the premiership.
When Sam, George and Tom have run for a combined total of 350 or more metres a game, Souths have won 27 of 36 games. That's a whopping success rate of 75 per cent.
Yet when they have run for less than 350 metres combined, Souths have won just 11 of 29 games for a strike rate of just 38 per cent.
This season the stats are even more impressive. The Rabbitohs have won eight of nine games (89 per cent) when the three brothers have combined for 350 or more metres.
So the solution is simple for the Dragons in Saturday night's elimination semi-final against the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium: stop the brothers hitting that magical 350 mark.
"George is unstoppable. Unstoppable," South Sydney legend Craig Coleman said. "He is in career-best form.
"Tom has been fantastic and Sam is Sam. You expect a lot of Sam every week.
"You don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar to see why Souths are winning.
"They have turned Damien Cook into a champion. It's off the back of the twins. I reckon I could still get a few yards off the back of them.
"Their theory is to run as hard as they can every time they get the ball. And it's working pretty good.
"They have been outstanding. The way they are going, it's a reason why Souths are having such a successful year."
The three Burgesses have played in 65 games together since 2013 and Sam has again led the way this season, averaging 132 metres per game.
He has run for 130 or more metres in 14 games, and Souths have won 12 of those matches.
When Sam runs for less than 130 metres, Souths have won just two of seven matches.
Tom is averaging 110 metres per game (from 45 minutes) and George 98 (from 40 minutes).
George is averaging a career-high 10.3 metres per run this season and has consistently bent the defensive line.
"The Burgess brothers have been pivotal to what we have done this year," Souths football manager and former Rabbitohs forward Mark Ellison said.
"Everyone knows that. Our forwards have been pretty strong but obviously the bigger boys are hard to stop.
"They know what is expected of them and they are performing well.
"Damien Cook and our halves are playing off some great work there.
"The biggest thing this year - from starting in the pre-season - is that each guy is aware of his job. And they train for it every week.
"The Dragons have put themselves back on the map. It was a great performance against the Broncos.
"They were far from favourites in sudden death and they performed really well. And they will on Saturday as well.
"Our performance wasn't too bad down there in Melbourne. There are just a few little areas we need to improve on. We're looking forward to Saturday."
Coleman added: "Last week's round of football was unbelievable, every game. I think Souths will win quite convincingly."