Sam Burgess is relishing the opportunity to face England teammate Sam Tomkins for the first time in the NRL when South Sydney take on the Warriors in Perth on Saturday.
Tomkins became the most expensive signing in rugby league history when he switched from Wigan to the Warriors for a fee estimated to be in the region of one million dollars.
But after a slow start to the season the 25-year-old fullback is starting to show glimpses of the form that made him a standout in the Super League, scoring four tries in his last seven appearances.
Burgess is well aware of the pressure on England internationals to prove themselves immediately in the NRL and said he’s been impressed with how Tomkins has handled himself – particularly when he stood up to prop James Graham in a recent clash with Canterbury.
“He’s a great kid Sammy and I am great mates with him off the field,” Burgess said.
“He’s a good competitor, I saw a little exchange between him and James Graham, so I don’t think I will take him on this week.”
Souths coach Michael Maguire is the man responsible for transforming Tomkins from a five-eighth into one of the best fullbacks in the world in his final season with Wigan in 2011. Burgess said the Rabbitohs will be fully prepared for him.
“I am really happy for Sam he copped a bit of flak and criticism when he came over but he’s hit some form and we’re well aware of what he can do,” he said.
“It’s up to us now to make sure we limit his threat as much as possible.”