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Sam Burgess backs Tom for big NRL minutes

Tom Burgess has the motor to play big minutes at South Sydney this year, according to brother Sam, as the Rabbitohs look to fill the void in their NRL pack.

The last Burgess standing after the Rabbitohs had as many as four in 2013, Tom will be Souths' most-experienced forward in 2020.

The 27-year-old came through 50 minutes in a trial last week against Parramatta, a mark he only topped once last season.

Burgess will again start at prop in Saturday night's Charity Shield for the Rabbitohs, with South Sydney's pack close to full strength.

"Tom can play big minutes - he really can," said Sam, who will juggle coaching this year at Souths with Fox League commentating.

"The challenge is for the big guys playing in the middle is to be smart enough to make sure they have enough juice in the tank at the end of the year.

"Tom is experienced enough to hold that ... we'll play him big minutes some games and, some games, we will play him less."

Saturday's clash will be the first real test of the Bunnies' pack, with St George Illawarra also close to full strength apart from bench injuries.

Sam has retired through unbearable shoulder pain, while George has gone back to England. John Sutton has also retired.

In their place, Liam Knight will also start at prop, charged with leading Souths' big men into the next era after being handed a contract extension until the end of 2023.

Cameron Murray will also shift between edge and lock, with Sam Burgess insistent his move is as much about looking after the youngster's development as it is size in the middle.

Keaon Koloamatangi will also have a chance off the bench, after being touted as a possible second-row option following an impressive pre-season.

But much of their performances will still rest on Tom Burgess, after their middle had been left wanting at times last season without George and Sam.

"Tom is Tom. He's been great for us for a number of years now. He does the job; carries the ball well at the big guys," Sam said.

"There probably is a bit more pressure on him this year. He has been around for a while now, won a grand final and played 25 Tests for England.

"But he can handle that."

© AAP 2020