South Sydney's big men are to blame for skipper Greg Inglis' concerning lack of output this year, according to forward Sam Burgess.
Inglis has come under fire for a relatively quiet start to the NRL season that has yielded just two tries over their first eight games, leaving the Rabbitohs outside the top eight.
The Kangaroos and Queensland star broke out of his form slump with a strong performance in a losing team against Brisbane last week, but Burgess insisted his teammates needed to do more for their captain.
"If we're honest, I don't think us as a middle set of units have done our jobs well enough to give Greg an opportunity to be Greg out on the edges," Burgess told AAP.
The dual international challenged the team's forward pack to lay a platform for their fullback, beginning with Thursday's match against the battling Wests Tigers.
"He's had to do too much work through the middle and taking up juice he doesn't need to use," he said.
"The criticism of Greg is unfair. Greg'll get back to what you all want him to be when we, as forwards give him that opportunity."
Burgess admitted he too had yet to produce the kind of form that led the foundation club to a breakthrough premiership two years ago before his move to rugby union.
But he did manage to see glimpses of his old self against the Broncos.
"I'm getting there. I had a little neck injury there that set me back a bit and it took me a few weeks to get over. It took me some time to get back on track," he said.
"Friday was the closest I felt to being back into some sort of form. I know we lost, but I'm building a platform."
The 27-year-old admitted he was surprised by the amount of airplay his shot on a prone Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue had received over the weekend.
Burgess called his hit "legal", and questioned where the game was heading with its physicality.
"Not many people are asking about Adam Reynolds' jaw, which in my opinion deserves a little bit more attention seeing as though he got hit in the head," Burgess said.
"Whereas mine I felt was a legal tackle. It was a bit physical, but if that's where the game's going, that's the rules we've got to abide by."