Steve Mascord looks at the importance of Sam Burgess to South Sydney Rabbitohs season…

Is Sam Burgess now the most important individual to his team in either Super League or the NRL?
Sam Burgess Souths
There must be at least a chance the answer is NOW affirmative, given events at ANZ Stadium on Good Friday. Without the dual international, South Sydney was pummelLed 42-12 by Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.

Not only that, when the 27-year-old hurt his neck the previous Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the bunnies were on top of St George Illawarra.

After he was carted off to hospital, they slumped to an 8-6 defeat. Souths had won their previous two matches, 42-10 over neighbours Sydney Roosters and 40-6 over Newcastle with Burgess hailed as a prodigal son.

Before we drill deeper down in to question posed in the first paragraph, let’s first hear from Sam who broke his silence over his frightening injury on television before the Good Friday match.

“I were pretty scared,” he told Channel Nine. “I lost feeling in my right arm and there was a sharp pain in the back of my neck where I’ve torn a muscle. I was pretty worried and scared for my wife Phoebe and my mum. That were a little bit upsetting, that I was putting them through it. Thankfully everything came back as clean as it could.

“I felt pretty lucky come Monday morning.

“To be honest, I’ve probably never been as scared with an injury. It’s the unknown. You’ve got a neck brace on. You’ve got to take all the precautionary measures in case. I dare say I was physically upset with it. I feared the worst with a lack of strength in my right arm.”

That’s gotta play on his mind when he makes his return in round five. So, is Burgess more important to Souths than Johnathan Thurston is to North Queensland? Results this year would suggest Danny McGuire is similarly essential to the fortunes of Leeds.

Who else would you suggest?

Manly finally broke through for a win under new coach Trent Barrett on Monday night when Brett Stewart, the Prince of Brookvale, made his return from a hamstring injury.

Todd Carney SHOULD be a huge determining factor in Catalans’ fortunes but they’ve been forced to play without him.

Pundit Phil Gould has declared Semi Radradra more important to Parramatta than their marquee signing Keiron Foran.

James Roby has long been considered a good luck – and good results – charm for St Helens while Wigan will undoubtedly benefit from the return of Sam Tomkins in a couple of months’ time (it was supposed to be Easter).

And, as one Souths fan pointed out on Twitter when I posed this over-arching question, South Sydney are also badly missing their injured scrum half Adam Reynolds.

How do we solve the debate then so reading the current We Got Issues has not been a waste of your time?

Simple: if South Sydney without Sam Burgess was playing North Queensland without Johnathan Thurston, who would you tip?

Based on what I saw on Thursday, it would be the Cowboys. Whatever they’re paying Slammin’ Sam, it appears he’s worth it.