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Momentous milestone week for NRL

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Sam Burgess attributes the astonishing recent spike in players tallying 300 NRL games to the science in the code.

The NRL will enjoy surely it's greatest ever round of milestones this weekend, with Cameron Smith becoming the first to 400 games and Benji Marshall and Gavin Cooper joining the 300 club.

Marshall and Cooper will swell to 38 the tally of players to attain the 300 mark.

Almost two thirds of the group have achieved the feat in this decade and every year since 2008 has seen at least one more player added to the list.

Only five players managed it in the 20th century.

Former Parramatta, Manly and Penrith forward Geoff Gerard was the first man to get there back in 1989.

"It's probably more the science in the game, the recovery we've got," South Sydney captain and forward Burgess said.

"We've got the information, the knowledge, of the human body gives player the potential to play that amount of games

"It's great for all the players that are reaching those milestones, it's a fantastic achievement.

Burgess, who hopes to return this weekend after missing two games with shoulder surgery, has logged almost 300 top level games himself between his appearances for Souths, Bradford Bulls, England and Great Britain.

"Career-wise I'm up there somewhere, I just think about a day at a time at the moment," Burgess said.

The 30-year-old forward was generous in his praise of Melbourne, Queensland and Kangaroos superstar Smith, though he joked he hadn't had too many good experiences opposing the great hooker.

"The influence he's had across the 400 games has just been second to none, I don't think anyone will replicate the influence Cameron has had on the game," Burgess said.

"His leadership has been fantastic, the success he's had at Melbourne has just been unbelievable.

'"He's a great icon of the game.

"He's played over 500 if you add his Test matches and Origins, it just shows the durability of him,

"Probably a once in a lifetime player."

© AAP 2019

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