Two NRL clubs chase Sam Burgess to make comeback to rugby league
Sam Burgess has been sounded out to make a stunning return to rugby league — but the interest hasn’t come from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Phil RothfieldSports Editor-at-large
April 26, 2021 - 12:46PM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
Champion forward Sam Burgess has rejected shock comeback offers from two NRL clubs.
His adviser, Fox Sports star Braith Anasta, has told The Daily Telegraph of the approaches in recent weeks but refused to name the clubs, other than confirming it was not South Sydney.
One of the clubs is believed to have been the struggling Wests Tigers where Burgess had the opportunity to link up with his 2014 premiership-winning coach Michael Maguire.
Burgess, 32, medically retired from the Rabbitohs in 2019 with a shoulder injury.
“The offers were genuine and Sam gave it some serious thought,” Ansata said. “They rang me and they were keen.
“It was definitely a consideration but it’s not going to happen. The career’s over.”
Burgess had been in a training camp for a month on the Gold Coast when the offers were made.
“When he got fit again the juices started flowing,” Anasta said.
“Playing rugby league was Sam’s life. He loved it and he misses it. To all of a sudden have to retire it was hard.”
The clubs would have had difficulties registering a contract for Burgess, who had to convince the NRL with solid medical evidence that his shoulder injury was serious enough to retire and at the same time get salary cap relief for the Rabbitohs.
“Players who medically retire sign an acknowledgment that they have suffered a career-ending injury and will not seek a future contract,” an NRL spokesman told The Daily Telegraph on Monday.
Anasta says Burgess will instead look towards forging a coaching career.
A shoulder injury forced Sam Burgess into early retirement, and he has since turned his attention to coaching. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
“Sam at some stage would love to get into coaching,” Anasta said.
“He’s worked alongside Wayne Bennett at the Rabbitohs last year. He was in the COVID bubble.”
The Daily Telegraph is seeking comment from Burgess.
He still needs a clearance from the NRL integrity unit following an investigation into his off-field behaviour over allegations of violence, substance abuse and gambling binges that were raised in The Australian newspaper last year, something Burgess and the Rabbitohs vehemently deny.
He is also facing drug-driving and other traffic charges in court next month.
It’s believed Burgess was sounded out about a reunion with coach Michael Maguire at the Wests Tigers Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Burgess was subjected to a roadside drug test after officers pulled over his BMW X5 on February 22 while he was driving on the Hume Highway in the Southern Highlands village of Braemar. It allegedly tested positive to traces of cocaine.
This latest development comes after Burgess had his conviction for intimidating his father-in-law overturned on appeal after his lawyers accused his ex-wife Phoebe’s family of attempting to sully his name amid a bitter marriage breakdown.
After debuting for Bradford in the UK Super League in 2006 and making 88 appearances for the Bulls, Burgess moved to Australia where he played 182 NRL games during two stints with the Rabbitohs. He quit the club at the end of the 2014 season to play rugby union for England, but returned in 2016 before his medical retirement two years ago.