Rabbitohs legend Sam Burgess has opened up about his shock decision to quit the club following an ugly fallout with head coach Jason Demetriou.
The Rabbitohs were rocked by a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday at the Rabbitohs’ training centre in Maroubra as Burgess walked out on the club with Demetriou fronting the media to deny allegations he was too soft on star players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker.
Souths assistant coach Burgess is understood to have raised concerns with Demetriou about the special treatment given to Mitchell and Walker.
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Speaking to Sunrise sports presenter Mark Beretta, Burgess said he stood by his decision and it is better for everyone involved that he left the club immediately.
Sam Burgess speaks to Sunrise. Credit: Channel 7
“It’s been a really big week,” Burgess said on Friday morning.
“A lot has happened and I stand by my decision to walk away.
“I think it’s best for the team, best for the club and everyone involved.
“It’s been a big week but hopefully no more distractions and the team can get on with the job.”
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Burgess is a Bunnies legend, having led the club to their drought-breaking NRL premiership in 2014 and was asked by Beretta if there was ever a chance he would return to the club.
Burgess replied and said his focus is firmly on next year as he takes over the head coaching job at Warrington in England.
“I love the club, I love what it stands for,” Burgess said.
“They have been great to me and my family and that’s never going to change.
“The supporters, the members, the players, everyone involved is really good.
“Circumstances arose and it was just right and everything that happened I’m happy with what the decision was.
“It’s a good time to move on and focus on next year.”
Sam Burgess and Jason Demetriou have parted ways. Credit: Getty ImagesSam Burgess (c) in happier times with Jason Demetriou and Latrell Mitchell at Rabbitohs training. Credit: AAP
Burgess enjoys a close relationship with Souths co-owner and Hollywood star Russell Crowe and his decision to quit the Rabbitohs so close to the end of the season came as a surprise.
Demetriou fired up at suggestions Mitchell is “dominating the club” and denied suggestions he was too soft on his star player.
“Latrell is a big presence as Sam was when he was playing, but to say that he (Mitchell) is dominating the club … he’s a part of the leadership team,” Demetriou told the media.
“Cameron Murray is our captain and does a fantastic job as a leader in this club.
“Is he (Mitchell) dominating the club? No, it’s a comment that’s ridiculous. He was out for three months, who was dominating the club then?
“One minute, (everyone) was saying we’re too soft on him and, and they’re running the club. And the next minute, it’s, I’m falling out with everyone. So which one is it?”
Latrell Mitchell was suspended for elbowing Tyson Frizell in the head. Credit: Fox Sports
Souths have publicly claimed that the Rabbitohs great is leaving the club due to the upcoming birth of his child with partner Lucy Graham.
“Sam and the club agreed that Sam has got some other priorities to work on,” Souths chief executive Blake Solly said.
“His partner Lucy is about to give birth to a baby.
“He’s got the Warrington job and he’s becoming increasingly involved with the preparation for next season.
“They’re the two major reasons why Sam and the club agreed today it was in everyone’s best interests that he is allowed to focus on those two issues.
“Sam will always be welcome at the club.”
Mitchell took to social media to put to bed any suggestions he has a problem with the Rabbitohs as the club fights to keep their NRL finals dream alive.
Latrell Mitchell’s Instagram post. Credit: Instagram – @iam_lm01
“Sometimes we fight sometimes we argue but there ain’t no negotiation on how much I love this club and my team mates !” Mitchell wrote on Instagram.
Souths have the bye this week with star fullback Mitchell set to miss the last game of the season against arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters after he was given a one-game suspension following last Sunday’s loss to Newcastle.
The Rabbitohs must defeat the Roosters to ensure their spot in the top eight and to guarantee they don’t miss the finals for the first time since 2017.
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