Dave Craven: Burgeoning Burgess brothers give McNamara selection poser

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At the time of writing this column I’d not seen all the evidence at first-hand.

But from what I’m gathering, especially via that wonderful modern thing of Twitter, young George Burgess had a belter for South Sydney yesterday.

Apparently, his elder brother Sam wasn’t half bad either as the Rabbitohs ruined Sydney Roosters and Sonny Bill Williams’s big RL homecoming.

We are still a long, long way off the point where an England squad has to be named for this autumn’s World Cup.

But the performance of the younger Burgess sibling – we already know Sam will be a fulcrum of Steve McNamara’s side barring his horrendous misfortune with injuries – has got people all aflutter about the potential combinations available to the hosts.

It was inevitable at the end of a week where the national boss has already relayed his latest 30-man elite training squad.

McNamara has kept largely to those that formed the bulk of last season’s autumn internationals with France and Wales.

You can see his thinking. There is little opportunity – Exiles game apart – to tinker too heavily and he seems to have a fair idea already of where he’s heading.

McNamara added that it would take something special to oust those already in there and, so, it is clear that there must be some serious raises in standard of performance for those still on the periphery.

George Burgess, though not in this ETS, will realise he is one of those who, if he can reproduce and maintain yesterday’s level of performance, will possibly be pressing his claims hard.

McNamara is no mug. He realises if his players can withstand the heat of the NRL furnace and its high intensity, they are more readily prepared for life as an international footballer.

Although Luke Burgess – the eldest of this remarkable quartet of brothers – didn’t feature in those autumn games, the fact he was in the squad after just 18 months with South Sydney proves the theory.

Previously, he had been a solid Leeds Rhinos squad player but his game was fashioned immeasurably following his switch to Australia.

For George, powering on into McNamara’s final selection will be a big ask.

Like twin brother and South Sydney’s newest arrival Tom, he has featured with the England Knights but he does not yet turn 21 until next month and still has relatively little senior experience to his name after only making his NRL bow last year.

Of course, McNamara’s predecessor Tony Smith did not fear in giving Sam his Great Britain debut at the tender age of 18 but, it is safe to say, he was one of those freakish talents that everyone knew could handle that amount of pressure.

George is, though, ahead of Luke who is out for six months with a shoulder reconstruction and Tom who, though amassing far more senior games with Bradford last season than his twin did in Australia, is still, in essence, behind him due to the differences in standards. Quality not quantity, as it were.

McNamara knows them both well having signed them together as juniors when in charge himself at Odsal and overseeing their development. It will be intriguing to see if any other Burgess, apart from Sam, does make the cut.

In all honesty, it will take a real surge given the high calibre of those already in the mix – James Graham, Adrian Morley, Eorl Crabtree, Gareth Carvell, Lee Mossop and, if he is used in the front-row, Sam himself.

But the Australians already look taken aback by the strength and drive of this towering six foot five forward. It could be easy to see him impacting off the bench come World Cup season.

However, as Huddersfield Giants’ excellent back-row Brett Ferres has already unfortunately found out – “the best in Super League with Liam Farrell” according to his coach Paul Anderson – it still might not be quite enough.