The captain of South Sydney, Cameron Murray, has firmly denied rumours suggesting preferential treatment for Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker at the club. Murray also expressed his gratitude to Sam Burgess, who he believes has helped to mould him as a player and an individual.
Murray is drawing on his leadership skills to steer the historic club’s premiership hopes back on track after a week filled with drama.
He said, “Our goal at the start of the pre-season was to win the comp – and that is still our goal. It’s been a peculiar week for us, with events unfamiliar to many of us. But my focus has been on emphasising that we may not be able to control what’s happened, we can however manage our reaction to it aptly.”
News of internal discontent surfacing within Souths was reported on Monday evening – seemingly sparked by the perceived preferential treatment of Mitchell and Walker. By Wednesday, Rabbitohs’ veteran and assistant coach Burgess parted ways with the club.
Contrary to rumours, Souths were quick to dismiss any speculations about Burgess leaking information to the press. They explained that he is currently preparing to welcome his newborn baby and establishing his new role as head coach with Super League Club Warrington.
Murray seemed taken aback by the media coverage Souths have received and was visibly perturbed when questioned about the club’s culture, preferring to keep things private.
At first, the 25-year-old player chose not to comment on some contentious issues that have surfaced during the week, such as his exchange with Mitchell during a video session last month. However, when asked about accusations of Mitchell and Walker receiving favourable treatment, Murray could not contain his reactions.
“I don’t think it’s true at all – I think it’s nonsense,” he responded. “One of the key elements of this club is attending to individual needs. Not everyone follows the same daily schedule. Latrell or other players may not be present some days due to other commitments.
He continued, “Singling out Cody and Latrell would be unjust. To insinuate that they place themselves above the team is simply not accurate.”
Murray added, “Even with the Luke Combs incident the other night, no one at this club had an issue with Latrell enjoying a drink on stage with the country music star. Both Latrell and Cody have been unfairly represented in the media, a recurring issue specifically for Latrell. I will always support my teammates.”
Mitchell will be absent from next Friday’s top-eight showdown with the Roosters due to suspension. On Thursday, Mitchell took to social media to express his love for the club and his teammates.
On this, Murray nodded and added, “We are part of a football club in a high-performance environment where everyone strives to win. There can be heated discussions. Things are not more heated now than any other time in the club which brings to question all the attention we have been receiving [in the media]. Tempers may rise at times, but ultimately, we sit down, shake hands, hug it out, and move on. These heated exchanges are necessary for growth.”
The obvious mutual admiration between Burgess and Murray is noteworthy. Murray commented on his relationship with Burgess saying, “Sam has had significant impact on my career as a player and as a person, ever since I joined.
Furthermore, Murray praises his head coach Jason Demetriou, describing him as a leader who is both empathetic and passionate about the club and added, “He always backs his team.”
Murray awaits the day the rumours of internal strife will subside, and the focus shifts back to their clash with long-time rivals the Roosters. He believes that the external chatter will serve as added motivation for the team.
In conclusion, Murray stated, “Our unity as a playing unit remains strong as ever. We’ve had open and honest dialogues over the past few days, reassuring us of the strong bond we share and the love we have for each other here at the club.”