NRL GRAND FINAL
NRL GRAND FINAL

All over: Burgess forced to quit NRL

SAM Burgess's NRL career will officially come to an end on Wednesday afternoon with South Sydney set to announce the English enforcer's immediate retirement.

Burgess, 30, will be retired on medical grounds due to a serious shoulder injury that hampered his 2019 season.

It will be a huge blow to the Bunnies who also had to cope with losing Greg Inglis to premature retirement earlier this year.

It is understood the club has been working closely with the NRL to see what portion of Burgess' $1 million-plus salary will not be included in the salary cap going forward.

Burgess is contracted with the Rabbitohs until the end of 2022.

It is understood an announcement was planned for Friday, although ongoing discussions behind the scenes meant that it was put back until Wednesday.

Burgess is currently in Mexico, where he has been attending celebrations for former rugby league player Sean Garlick's birthday, which is also understood to have delayed the announcement.

Sam Burgess with his brothers Luke (left), George and Tom in 2012. Picture: Gregg Porteous
Sam Burgess with his brothers Luke (left), George and Tom in 2012. Picture: Gregg Porteous

While Burgess's retirement will be announced on Wednesday afternoon, details of what he will do in the future have yet to be confirmed.

Burgess was offered an assistant coaching role under Wayne Bennett, but is believed to have turned that down in favour of spending time with his young children after the break-up of his marriage to estranged wife Phoebe.

NSW police had taken a temporary AVO against the footballer after an incident with his father-in-law Mitch Hooke In Bowral recently.

Burgess will go down as arguably the greatest English forward to play in the Australian competition, with many rating him even ahead of former champion Mal Reilly.

Burgess joined the Rabbitohs in 2010 and immediately took the NRL by storm, establishing himself as one of the toughest and most feared men in the game.

Sam Burgess and wife Phoebe at Redfern earlier this year. Picture: Richard Dobson
Sam Burgess and wife Phoebe at Redfern earlier this year. Picture: Richard Dobson

His courage to play with a busted cheekbone in the 2014 NRL grand final suffered in the first tackle will go down in the game's folklore. Burgess's inspirational man-of-the-match performance led the Bunnies to their drought-breaking premiership victory and came as he risked his eyesight after a vicious head clash.

 

His retirement leaves the Rabbitohs looking for replacements ahead of the 2020 NRL season and beyond, with $80 million worth of talent available from November 1.

Souths have been linked to St George Illawarra backrower Tyson Frizell as a potential replacement although it would appear unlikely the Dragons would consider releasing Frizell who is contracted for the 2020 season.

Young Brisbane powerhouse David Fifita is another whose name has been tossed up although it would also be unlikely the Broncos would release him for next season.

But the Rabbitohs will be desperate to boost their forward depth and experience given former captain John Sutton has also recently retired, leaving the club without a recognised leader.

Sam Burgess tackles Dane Gagai in a Test between England and Australia. Picture: AAP
Sam Burgess tackles Dane Gagai in a Test between England and Australia. Picture: AAP

SAM BURGESS

Age: 30

Born: Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

NRL

Games: 182 (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Tries: 44

Premierships: 1

Other: Clive Churchill Medal (2014), World Cup final (2017)

Super League

Games: 88 (Bradford Bulls)

Tries: 17

Premierships: 0

Representative rugby league

Tests: 26 (England, 24, Great Britain, 2)

Tries: 9

NRL All Stars: 1

Rugby union

Games: 21 (Bath)

Tries: 4

International rugby union

Games 5

World Cup appearances: 1

Tries: 0

 

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