A veteran at 26 … Luke Burgess. Photo: Brendan Esposito
South Sydney's promising future became a little brighter on Wednesday afternoon with forwards Luke Burgess and Chris McQueen signing new deals to remain at the club until the end of 2015.
While the forward pack was full of big-name players, Burgess and McQueen were the unsung heroes in the Rabbitohs' charge to a preliminary final last season.
McQueen was used as a utility player under 2010-11 coach John Lang, even venturing out to the wing in his brief stint in the back line. But when Michael Maguire arrived at the club at the end of the 2011 season, he helped transform the Kingaroy junior into a handy forward.
His breakthrough season for the Rabbitohs last year did not go unnoticed, with the now 25-year-old selected in the Queensland emerging State of Origin squad over the pre-season.
While Burgess has played in the shadow of his younger brother, Sam, since joining the club in round 17 of 2011, he has made a big contribution. The 26-year-old Luke Burgess has now played more than 100 NRL and English Super League games for South Sydney, Harlequins and Leeds Rhinos. The 112-kilogram prop was rewarded for his stellar season last year with selection in the English national squad for its end-of-season international matches.
The Rabbitohs also announced the re-signing of promising back-rower Kyle Turner. The 21-year-old is a graduate of South Sydney's under-20s team and played in the club's pre-season trials this year.