NRL talking points: Sam Burgess, concussion talk, Cameron Smith, Trbojevic brothers

Most of the talk this week has revolved around the State of Origin Decider, but Jenna Brooks has all the other talking points from the NRL heading into Round 17.

Burgess return

Sam Burgess is hoping to make his return for South Sydney on Saturday against Manly. The England forward has missed just two games after undergoing shoulder surgery.

“Subject to a fitness test later in the week, but trained well this morning so, it’s looking positive at the moment,” Burgess said.

The Rabbitohs star, who hasn’t played since Round 13, always hoped he would be back for South Sydney’s Round 17 match with the Sea Eagles.

You can catch South Sydney against Manly live on Sky Sports on Saturday morning.

Concussion latest

After last week’s concussion bombshell, NRL officials are once again under fire after two referees allowed play to continue in Newcastle last weekend, despite being aware that Warriors centre Peta Hiku had suffered a head knock.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley admitted that they were aware of the incident and play should have been stopped.

“He said ‘watch him’, in other words ‘keep an eye on him’ but that is not good enough. That is saying ‘I have identified that there is an issue there so keep an eye on him’. Well, keep an eye on him is not the right answer. Stop the game and have him assessed is the right answer,” Annesley said.

The two referees involved, Gavin Badger and Adam Gee, have been dropped and neither will officiate any games in Round 17.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the governing body is doing all it can to manage and prevent concussion.

“The policies and procedures we have put in place around concussion and our return-to-play guidelines are world’s best practice and they come out of the consensus on concussion which is an international global best practice,” Greenberg said.

“But as science evolves, we will continue to tighten those policies but I’m very comfortable with the level of care and importantly the level of assistance we provide to our trainers and doctors.”

Smith milestone

Cameron Smith will create history on Saturday when his Melbourne side takes on the Cronulla Sharks.

It will be the 400th time Smith has run out for the Storm, also adding to the remarkable achievement is the fact all 399 games have been with Melbourne.

The 36-year-old becomes the first NRL player to play 400 games, and the Storm captain has no plans to retire once his contract expires at the end of 2020.

“I don’t have any thoughts of finishing up at this stage,” Smith said.

“The team is performing well and the club is in a very good position on top of the ladder by six points.

“Everyone knows when you are winning and there is a good feeling everyone is happy.

“If we weren’t winning I might have a different outlook on my future,”

Trbojevic duo

Reports in Australia suggest Manly are set to offer brothers Tom and Jake Trbojevic a package deal worth more than £5.5m.

The club are believed to want to keep the pair, who are out of contract at the end of 2020, for at least the next five years.

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