Burgess pulls pin on career
SAM Burgess says he was left with no choice yesterday but to walk away from rugby league after succumbing to a left shoulder injury.
The South Sydney captain confirmed his immediate retirement from the NRL, bringing to an end a glittering career. The 30-year-old England Test star had long battled shoulder issues, but the discovery of an irreparable condition followed surgery earlier this season and it became progressively worse.
“This decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially,” Burgess said. “I am no longer able to be myself day-in, day-out on the training field and consequently the playing field.
“I have loved absolutely every minute: the highs, the lows, the grand final, coming home, my injuries, my dates with the judiciary. It really has been a fantastic ride.”
Burgess will go down as one of the NRL’s great forwards. He played 182 games for Souths and was Clive Churchill medallist despite a debilitating facial fracture in their drought-breaking 2014 grand final win. Rugged and fearless in the middle, he was the Rabbitohs’ leading forward from his NRL debut in 2010 until the end.
Apart from a brief switch to the 15-man code which culminated in representing England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Burgess was named Souths’ player of the year in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
He also played 88 games for Bradford in the English Super League.
“He was one of the drawcards for me in coming to coach at South Sydney,” Souths and England mentor Wayne Bennett said.
“I’d heard so much about this Englishman that I had to see him for myself. Then I had the opportunity to coach him with England and I was hoping to coach him again this year with Great Britain.
“I’m glad to have played a small role in his career and I feel blessed that he has been part of mine. I know he has made the right decision.”
The announcement will leave a leadership void at Redfern. Greg Inglis had to call time on his career earlier this year, while fellow former captain John Sutton called it quits at the end of 2019. Damien Cook, Cameron Murray and Adam Reynolds are expected to be the leading contenders to assume the role.