South Sydney champion Sam Burgess may not have left the club on good terms last month, but the premiership-winning striker has denied claims he had fallen out with club co-owner Russell Crowe.
Burgess spent the 2023 season as an assistant coach with the Bunnies before mutually agreeing to part ways with the club he won the Premier League with in 2014 last week.
This came after Burgess and head coach Jason Demetriou reportedly disagreed over the special treatment given to star players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker – and just days before South Sydney’s season ended following a loss to the Sydney Roosters.
It was reported that Hollwood star Crowe hung up after a heated phone call during the meeting where Burgess decided to leave the club, but the outgoing coach said that was far from the truth.
“That’s nonsense,” Burgess laughed when asked about it on The Sunday Show with Matty Johns.
Burgess and Crowe have a long-standing friendship that remains despite the fact that the former Souths assistant coach has left the club
Crowe and Burgess celebrate in 2014 when the Souths captain won the Clive Churchill Medal in the Bunnies’ grand final win over the Bulldogs, who were playing with a broken jaw
“I’ll sort this out.” “It was bullshit, there was no hook at all,” Burgess continued.
“We had a good conversation and he said, ‘All right man, cool, see you later’.”
“Someone needs to hang up.” I can’t remember if I pressed the red button [button] or he did.
“But there was definitely no animosity whatsoever.”
“I’m supposed to be at his farm this week, but we’re expecting a baby this week.”
Burgess said he made the decision to leave his beloved Bunnies out of respect for the club.
“I don’t really want to go into detail again, Matty. “I went in that morning to do what was best for the club and the team at this moment,” he said.
“I thought it was there and the distraction that there was. I just made what I thought was the best decision for the team at the time, which was to get away with some of the things that happened behind closed doors.
“I think it’s best to leave it at that and let everyone go their own way.”
Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker were under the microscope as South Sydney tumbled from the top spot in the NRL rankings and missed the finals altogether
Burgess has reportedly complained about disproportionate power between the players and the club, with Mitchell and Walker said to be held to different standards than the rest of the playing group.
But Burgess said there was no animosity between him and the star players following his departure.
“I would not say that [there is a disproportionate amount of power]“They have a great leadership model and some great people in there,” he said.
“I’ll also just say for the record that there was a lot of speculation in the media that Latrell, Cody and I were going to try it.” That’s not the case. I love Latrell, I love Cody. They are great guys and great people.
“Of course there are things we have different opinions about.” I think there’s been a lot more written about me, Latrell and Cody in the press, but that’s not the case. I love these guys, they are great guys.
“Could I do it better?” Yes, of course we could.
“But that’s not my job. “It’s up to me to tell the head coach and let him run the ship, so to speak. ‘
Burgess spoke at length about his departure from Souths and his relationship with players and power brokers at the Bunnies
Burgess insisted that Walker and Mitchell did not have too much power and that he was still on good terms with them
Head coach Jason Demetriou (right) and Burgess reportedly butted heads, but the outgoing assistant coach said their relationship was “professional.”
Burgess insisted on his relationship with DEmetriou was professional despite the dispute.
“It’s professional.” “We left there by mutual agreement, so to speak,” he said.
“I wish him all the best and I love the club, I love South Sydney. “It’s part of the DNA and I want them to always do well.
“I wish Jason, the team and the club all the best for next year and hopefully Jack too.” [Wighton] is not [spending] also too much time on the sidelines [for an alleged bite on Newcastle player Tyson Gamble].
“I think I would probably call it a professional relationship.”
Burgess’ exit was the icing on the cake of a horror season for the Rabbitohs, which saw the club fall from first place in the league table and miss the finals entirely.
Asked if he saw the collapse coming, Burgess replied: “It’s hard, isn’t it?” “As an assistant coach you can only express your opinion.”
“It’s difficult because some games were close and some things were out of character.”
“I feel for the team, I really do.” You see all the effort, you see all the hard work that goes into it.
“There are definitely some disappointed people.” I saw Cameron Murray this morning and I could sense the disappointment in him.
“Sometimes it’s the confidence and the belief, when that’s the case, it’s hard for some teams to grasp.”
Souths players after their finals defeat to the Sydney Roosters which cost them a place in the NRL finals
Sam Burgess and heavily pregnant fiancée Lucy Graham are expecting their first child this week
There have also been rumors that Burgess could return to South Sydney as head coach if Demetriou fails to produce results in 2024.
However, Burgess said he had agreed a two-year deal with English Super League club Warrington and intended to see it through.
“Yes, you see, I signed there for two years, I will definitely do the two years,” he said.
‘[Warrington] It was brave and courageous to give me this opportunity so I will repay it with loyalty and if it goes well there is no reason why we won’t stay there.
“I would probably say Australia is my home, my whole family is here.”
“But I’ve got a great opportunity over there, it’s a great club… I’m really looking forward to going there, getting my hands on this team and seeing what we can build.”