“I don’t even know if he’s a Blues supporter, but he cares about the players around him. He cares about the club and he wants everyone to be on the same mission as he is,” Murray said of Burgess.
“Sam’s impact on me has probably been more indirect. He hasn’t sat me down or anything and said, ‘You need to do this and that’. It’s more his leadership and his lead-by-his-actions approach.
“I’ve been very observant, and the person he is and the footy player he is, I’ve always looked up to him. The accolades he’s achieved in the game are second to none. He’s a future great of the game and I’m lucky enough to play along side him. I’ll take as much as I can from him.”
Of Murray’s meteoric rise, Burgess told the Herald: “This is a just reward for what he has been doing.
“He works hard for the team. He’s selfless, he’s got all the attributes you look for in a good team player.
“When you see a bit of quality you can smell it in a player. I have a lot of time for him. It’s not like he’s been an overnight sensation. He’s had raps on him his whole career.
“He makes great decisions away from footy, he makes great decision with footy. He’s an intelligent kid. I’m not doing the work out there, they’re the ones doing it.
“It’s good for the game. You want to see them all do well – you want every player to do well because careers are short and precious.
“Of course he’ll handle Origin. He’s handled everything thrown at him so far. The biggest games last year he handled them. He’s smart,t he doesn’t get fazed. He understands what he has to do, he doesn’t over-think things.”
Crichton was challenged by Burgess at the start of the last year to keep putting his body on the line for Souths, especially after he had inked a big-money deal to link with the Roosters.
Murray, who like Crichton came through the junior ranks playing schoolboys rugby, has since become the permanent owner of Burgess’ old Souths No. 13 jersey.
His speedy play-the-balls against tiring Queensland forwards has at least one Maroons legend, Billy Slater, worried, while he has also been known to cut blokes in half in defence.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.