International ‘Rookie of the Year’ George Burgess says his World Cup semi-final heartache will make him a better player.
The former Bradford Bulls prop, 21, was hailed the sport’s best young player on Wednesday night following a brilliant campaign with South Sydney and England.
Having debuted in the pre-tournament friendly against Italy, Dewsbury-born Burgess proved one of the most destructive forwards in the World Cup, scoring against Australia and playing in all five games.
However, his costly high tackle on Sonny Bill Williams – the newly-crowned World Player of the Year – led to New Zealand getting the chance to steal their semi-final in the last 20 seconds at Wembley on Saturday.
When asked if the award made up for that mistake, Burgess said: “Not quite, not a lot would make up for that. However, I am sure I will use that experience; there are things in life that won’t go to waste.
“You use everything you can. So, somewhere down the track in my career, I will look back on it and draw something from it.”
He admitted it was hard watching the footage back and knowing New Zealand – and not England – will face Australia in tomorrow’s Old Trafford final.
“To know how close we were to getting there is tough,” said Burgess.
“But it’s just a game and something you have got to get past and move forward.
“It was a really good match and looking back on it, we should have got the win. We will lick our wounds and I am sure next time we will go one step closer.
“I’ll watch the final. It’ll be a fierce contest between two great teams. After playing against both, I would have to say New Zealand was the tougher contest for us.
“But Australia have been together for a bit longer so it’s tough to call. I think it will come down to one or two points.”