South Sydney Rabbitohs legend Sam Burgess has spoken out about his surprising decision to leave the club after a falling out with head coach Jason Demetriou. Demetriou, who recently denied allegations of favoring star players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker, was confronted by Burgess regarding the special treatment given to Mitchell and Walker. In an interview with sports presenter Mark Beretta, Burgess explained that he stands by his decision to leave immediately, believing it is in the best interest of the team and the club as a whole.
Reflecting on the events of the week, Burgess expressed that it has been a tumultuous time but hopes that his departure will allow the team to focus on their upcoming matches without any further distractions. Given his legendary status at the club, Beretta asked Burgess if there was a possibility of him returning to South Sydney in the future. However, Burgess revealed that his attention is now on his new role as the head coach of Warrington in England. He emphasised his love and appreciation for South Sydney and its values, stating that they have been great to him and his family, but circumstances arose that led him to make the decision to move on.
Burgess’s decision to leave the Rabbitohs came as a surprise to many, especially considering his close relationship with Souths co-owner, Hollywood star Russell Crowe. Meanwhile, Demetriou vehemently denied claims that Mitchell was “dominating the club,” asserting that Mitchell is simply part of the leadership team and highlighting Cameron Murray as the captain who leads the club effectively. Demetriou expressed frustration with the flip-flopping opinions surrounding Mitchell, with some accusing the coaching staff of being too lenient on him while others claim there is a falling out between the player and the club.
Publicly, South Sydney has stated that Burgess is leaving the club due to the upcoming birth of his child with partner Lucy Graham. Souths CEO Blake Solly explained that Burgess has other priorities to focus on, including preparing for his new coaching role at Warrington and becoming a father. He assured that Burgess will always be welcome at the club.
In response to the rumors and speculations, Mitchell took to social media to address the situation and reaffirm his commitment to South Sydney. He wrote on Instagram that despite occasional fights and arguments, there is no question about how much he loves the club and his teammates.
With a bye this week, the Rabbitohs will be without star fullback Mitchell for their final game of the season against arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters following an injury. Souths must defeat the Roosters to secure a spot in the top eight and avoid missing the finals for the first time since 2017.