Burgess pulls pin on ca­reer

Mercury (Hobart) - - NRL, BOXING - SCOTT BAI­LEY

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.

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