Brooks to be tested by Burgess boys

Written By Unknown on Senin, 17 Maret 2014 | 23.41

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HE is the most hyped rugby league rookie to emerge in years — but this Friday night little Luke Brooks will face his biggest test.

In just his fourth top grade game, the 19-year-old Wests Tigers protégé will tackle what is undoubtedly the most daunting challenge in the NRL that comes in the shape of the Burgess brothers.

Between them, big Sam, George and Luke weigh in at a combined 348kg, and no doubt the giant Rabbitohs will run out onto ANZ Stadium with the intention of making sure the 85kg playmaker never forgets his first Friday night NRL game that will be televised live on Channel Nine.

Asked if he expects Brooks to be targeted by the Rabbitohs' big men, Tigers coach Mick Potter said last night: "You will have to speak to Michael Maguire but you'd assume they will send some traffic at him".

The Burgess brothers with mother Julie after a game against West Tigers at Allianz Stadium last year. Source: News Limited

But while careful not to put too much pressure on his young gun, Potter is confident Brooks has the right attitude to handle all the attention that is coming his way.

On and off the field.

"You get what you see with him," Potter said.

"He doesn't say much. He seems quite grounded.

"He has a good family behind him which is a steadying influence."

Already Brooks is being compared to the game's greatest ever player Andrew Johns and even rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis was blown away by the similarities when he watched Brooks star in the Tigers' win over the Titans on the Gold Coast last Sunday.

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Brooks was man of the match in his debut at the end of last season against St George Illawarra but was given a reality check in round one when he fronted up to the Dragons for the second time and missed 10 tackles in the 44-24 defeat.

But he bounced back against the Titans with a performance that had everyone believing that a very special talent has arrived at the Tigers.

As for the comparisons with Johns, Potter said he just hopes everyone gives the kid time to become his own man.

Brooks races through to touch the ball down in-goal after a kick from James Tedesco. Source: News Corp Australia

"He is progressing, we just need to be patient," Potter said.

"Everyone is mentioning other people's names.

"I'd rather him just be Luke Brooks and not compare him to anyone else.

"Just let him be his own player.

"He is three games into his NRL career.

"It is a different time for him compared to other players in the past.

"I don't think it is right comparing.

"It is not the same era, it is not the same defence, it is not the same attack.

Brooks (R) is congratulated by Braith Anasta after scoring against the Titans. Source: Getty Images

"I suppose what hasn't changed is the size of the field."

But the size of the players certainly has.

"That's right," Potter added, "and the athleticism of the guys has changed which makes it that much harder for the player's to cope.

"He has a lot more to come at him and he has to handle it the best way he can.

"I thought he had a real good response (after the round one loss to the Dragons) in round two.

"Everyone is after improvement all the time and I think he showed that (against the Gold Coast).

"This will be another challenge against Souths.

"It's a hard position to play week in, week out, but I think he quite enjoys the challenge."

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