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Souths’ English trio plug Origin drain

Who needs four Origin stars when you have three powerhouse Poms?

South Sydney turned to Sam, George and Tom Burgess to help cover their missing Queensland and NSW representatives and inspire yet another victory on Friday night.

Few gave Souths a chance against Cronulla, especially without Queensland duo Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai, as well as NSW debutants Damien Cook and Angus Crichton.

Doubling up: Tom Burgess scores his second try against the Sharks.

Photo: AAP

But Souths won 22-14 to prove they are the ''real deal'', as described by Andrew Johns during the Nine commentary.

The TV network was entitled to go to a long ad break to work out who won the man-of-the-match award. Souths had so many contenders.

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Tom bagged a double and ran for more than 150m, while Sam and George were not far behind.

Robbie Farah defended his heart out to finish with 59 tackles as he replaced Cook in the No.9 for his first match of the season.

John Sutton continued to terrorise rivals in attack out wide, holding the ball out before setting up Tom Burgess for his first four-pointer.

Adam Doueihi did a remarkable job at fullback while Adam Reynolds had the ball on a string.

And to think Souths were also missing Alex Johnston, who is an outside chance for next weekend's road trip to the Gold Coast.

Not for the first time this year, rookie coach Anthony Seibold was quick to shoot down the ''real deal'' talk, even though his club remained in third, right on the hammer of fellow Sydney heavyweights Penrith and St George Illawarra.

"I understand when you win some games in a row some comments like that will be thrown around, but the one thing we have done well as a group is dive into our next job, so we won't get carried away,'' Seibold said.

"We'll have a review tomorrow morning, then dump this game and dive into our next job.''

Sam was proud of his brothers, especially George who was criticised at different times last season, and missed out on an England World Cup berth.

The Sharks were chasing their seventh straight win but were on the back foot for most of the night, especially when the British siblings got into a groove.

Two late tries to Jesse Ramien and Sione Katoa made the score respectable, but the Sharks were never that close.

"We were average tonight, we were our own worst enemy," Flanagan said.

"They played well, they ran hard and tackled hard, I give them that.

"Everything compared to what they did wasn't good enough.''

Cronulla's defeat was made worse by the loss of Wade Graham to yet another concussion, while Matt Moylan was sin-binned in the dying stages.

The Shire club were missing Valentine Holmes to Origin duty and lost Josh Dugan during the week to stress fractures in the leg. He will now be out of play for the next three weeks.

The biggest concern for Flanagan is the latest concussion for Graham, even though they have been spaced.

Flanagan said Graham felt fine in the sheds and only failed the balance component of the cog test.

The representative back-rower landed awkwardly midway through the first half and collected the left knee of Sam Burgess.

Cronulla were fourth before their trip to ANZ Stadium and will remain a threat at the end of the season.

It was Cronulla who took an early lead through a penalty goal before Souths levelled the scores when George Burgess had the ball stripped in front of goals.

Souths then scored in the next set when Reynolds, Cody Walker and Sutton combined to put Burgess over.

The big Englishman was always going to be tough to stop from close range as Sutton held the ball out with one hand and looked inside and out for runners.

The Bunnies looked the goods and camped down Cronulla's end as the visitors started to tire.

Things did not improve for Cronulla when Graham was forced from the field.

Souths lost a player of their own when centre Braidon Burns came from the field a couple of minutes later with a knee injury, which also ended his night.

Another penalty goal allowed Souths to kick out to a 10-2 lead before Cronulla enjoyed a run of possession and forced a couple of drop-outs.

But just as the Sharks did well to defend their line for most of the half, Souths were also proving tough to crack.

SOUTH SYDNEY 22 (T Burgess 2 C Graham tries A Reynolds 5 goals) bt CRONULLA 14 (S Katoa J Ramien tries C Townsend 3 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referees: Matt Cecchin, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 10,410.

Christian Nicolussi

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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