Sam Burgess, South Sydney’s charismatic English-born player, is set to bid farewell to the team at the close of the current season. His next move? Taking the reins as head coach of the Warrington Wolves.
Confirmations of Burgess’ decision emerged overnight, revealing the 34-year-old’s grand return to England as he takes on the foremost position at the Super League club. The agreement secures the former Rabbitohs player as coach for the coming two seasons.
Formerly sought by Wayne Bennett to join the coaching team for the Dolphins, Burgess eventually returned to his Redfern roots, assuming a supportive role for Jason Demetriou. Burgess’ fiancée Lucy, also hailing from northern England, has been publicly recognised by Burgess as he expressed gratitude to his club and part-owner Russell Crowe for their enduring support and the opportunity to step into a leading coaching role.
Burgess added, “We still have an opportunity to play some great football for the remainder of the year, and to do so alongside our current staff and squad is my focus.” He acknowledged his adoring fans within the South Sydney contingent, expressing his gratitude for their constant support, assuring them that this is merely a ‘see you later’ rather than a farewell.
Souths CEO Blake Solly echoed these sentiments, affirming Burgess’ departure for Warrington comes with their blessing. “Sam made his name in the Super League playing for the Bradford Bulls and first arrived on our shores to join our club on his 21st birthday in 2009,” Solly recounted.
In his time within the league, Burgess achieved an impressive list of accolades including multiple George Piggins medals, a Clive Churchill medal and most notably South Sydney‘s 21st premiership in 2014.
Since retiring from active play, Burgess redirected his energy towards coaching. He led the Orara Valley Axemen to the grand finals last season and continued to offer his expertise and guidance to the NRL side’s rising stars, with a special emphasis on defensive strategies.
The news of Burgess’ return was well-received by his teammates. Cameron Murray, the team’s captain, commended that, “When Sam says something you listen because you don’t want to let him down.”
The Rabbitohs are heading to Cairns this Thursday, pinning their finals hopes on a successful match against St George Illawarra this Saturday. There will be notable absences, with Sam’s younger brother Tom serving a three-match suspension for a high tackle on Cronulla’s Tom Hazelton over the weekend. His twin George, however, will be proudly supporting from the stands, given his current residence and employment in the Far North Queensland tourist town.
As Burgess steps into his new role, Warrington Wolves are currently positioned fifth on the Super League ladder. The team’s roster includes former Dragons players Matt Dufty and Paul Vaughan.