Bulldogs half Moses Mbye says Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess – who was clearly missed by his side in their huge Good Friday loss to Mbye's Dogs – is the type of inspirational figure players only come across once or twice in their career.
Burgess was beaten by the clock in his bid to shake off a neck injury from the loss to the Dragons at the SCG last Sunday in just five days to face Canterbury and while Mbye was careful to point out his own forwards deserved credit regardless of the opposition, he had some heady praise for the absent Bunnies lock.
"It was a massive loss for Souths, not having Sam Burgess," Mbye said after the 42-12 win.
"He's one of those blokes – I've been told by senior players that you meet two of those sort of blokes in your career where you can look across the dressing room and just be instantly inspired and I think Sam Burgess is one of those blokes to South Sydney."
It's hard to argue; the difference between Souths' performances so far this year when he has been on the field [to massive wins and a fair start against the Dragons] compared to when he hasn't [a fade-out against the Dragons and huge loss to the Dogs] have been stark.
In his last game for Souths before this year he was, famously, Man of the Match in the 2014 grand final. The year after, in his absence, the team were underwhelming by their own lofty standards.
Mbye said it was former Canterbury teammate Reni Maitua whose words stuck with him when it came to that rare breed of player.
"I spent a lot of time with Ren. He's an older bloke and he told us that along your career, you'll come across two blokes who inspire you," Mbye said.
He also had high praise for his own club skipper, the relentlessly competitive James Graham, a Test teammate of Burgess for England, who he put in a similar bracket.
"Definitely James Graham; he carries that sort of aura about him where he's so intense and so professional in the way he plays, it's so tough. He's just a competitive bloke," Mbye said.
"You do look across the dressing room at James and think, 'you know what, we're going to be alright tonight because we've got James beside us'. You only come across those blokes a couple of times in your career."