We didn't choke on pressure: Burgess

We didn't choke on pressure: Burgess

Sam Burgess has slammed claims South Sydney was overawed by finals football and is confident the Rabbitohs can bounce back from their loss to Melbourne.

Souths get a second chance in Saturday night's NRL elimination final against Canberra after its 34-16 win against the Sharks yesterday.

The Rabbitohs, who finished the home and away season in third position, were dispatched 24-6 by a rampant Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Rookie NRL coach Michael Maguire's Souths side, touted as the Rabbitohs team to deliver the club its first premiership in 41 years, endured a shocking first finals appearance in five years.

The Storm blew Souths off the park in the opening 40 minutes, running in three unanswered tries to lead 18-0 at half-time.

But Burgess insisted the Rabbitohs' inexperienced finals line-up did not suffer stage fright.


''I'm not a massive believer in the pressure of finals football and players who have not been there before,'' he said yesterday.

''We've got a group of players who have played a lot of football together in the NRL.

''We just didn't perform to our standard and that's the disappointing thing.

''We're in this position for a reason. We're a good side and we need to start playing like we know we can.

''I thought Melbourne were very good in sticking to their game plan … we gave a lot of penalties away and made it hard for ourselves and didn't play the way we know we are capable of.

''The good thing is we get a second chance. It's going to be a big test for us next weekend but it's one we're looking forward to.

''We've got a lot to work on this week but we're confident we can do it.''

The flat opening from Souths has prompted calls to start Issac Luke instead of young rake Nathan Peats.

One positive for Burgess was the way the Rabbitohs finished the game, with both sides scoring one try each in the second 40 minutes.

''In the last 20 minutes we probably got into a little bit more of our game structure that we talked about all week but it was too little, too late,'' he said.

''We've just really got to focus on settling into our game plan as early as possible.''

Souths co-captain Roy Asotasi said the Rabbitohs' discipline in the first half proved costly, with the visitors on the end of a 5-2 penalty count going into the break.

''When you've got a team filled with players like Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, they make you pay for your mistakes,'' Asotasi said. AAP

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