You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
The Raiders' British quartet and South Sydney's Burgess brothers. (Photo digitally altered.)

"To be fair and to be honest with you I couldn't care less."

And with that said, don't expect too much chat between the English contingent from Canberra and South Sydney ahead of Friday night's sold out preliminary final at GIO Stadium.

Raiders forward John Bateman has already set the tone for the clash with a far greater prize at the finishing line – a grand final berth against either Melbourne or the Sydney Roosters nine sleeps later.  

Should Ryan Sutton line up for the Raiders, Friday night's match would set a new record for the number of English players in one NRL premiership match, with seven. If Sutton doesn't play it would equal the record, while setting a new record for the number of English players in a finals match.

But Bateman isn't too focused on taking on his countrymen this week. He might be in his maiden NRL season but the back-rower is experienced enough at Super League and international level to understand what's at stake.

"They're the opposition and the countrymen I'm worried about are the countrymen I'm going side by side with into the game which is Hodgo [Josh Hodgson], Sutty [Ryan Sutton], Elliott [Whitehead] and the rest of the team," Bateman said on Tuesday. 

"I'm out there to do a job on the weekend, whoever is in front of me that's who I am going to be playing against. Don't get me wrong I love them as blokes, I love them as friends and I always will and when we come off the pitch we'll have a laugh and a joke.

Soliola: Ricky's had a massive influence in my life

"But when the game's on and I've got that green jersey on that's all I'm there to do [is win]. I wouldn't expect them to hold back either."

Rabbitohs prop Sam Burgess was more worried about having the ball stripped from his grasp in a one-on-one attempt than his opposing countrymen possibly ending his season a game short of the NRL grand final. 

The Raiders have led the competition in one-on-one steals throughout the season.

"There's some sneaky boys in that team," Sam Burgess said.

"Josh Hodgson and John Bateman, when you shake their hand you have to check you've got all five fingers left. It's a tactic they've employed a bit more and they're sharp at it."

All jokes aside, having seven players with an English background competing for a grand final is a huge achievement according to Sam and younger sibling Tom Burgess, with Rabbitohs and England coach Wayne Bennett also right in the thick of the action.

"Wayne knows those English players well but most coaches do in the NRL," Tom Burgess said.

"They could say the same for us as well, it works both ways. It's good to see the English contingent play in these high-end games.

Burgess won't change after 'productive' Greenberg meeting

"It comes into it a little bit but you've got to just play on your new feelings and you can reflect on it at the end of the season."

One player who doesn't want the occasion to finish on a sombre note is departing brother George Burgess.

The Wigan-bound forward could play his last game after eight years of service to the club, along with retiring 300-game veteran John Sutton, if the Bunnies fall short in the nation's capital.

"I've seen the sparkle in the eye again and I think he's come to the realisation what's in front of him," Sam said of George.

"It's the reality of the situation, times ticking down so we're just enjoying every minute of it."

Experience the 2019 Finals Series and 2019 Women’s Premiership live. Make sure you get your tickets now