Souths will launch ‘last-ditch’ attempt to bring Sam Burgess back to Redfern as Wayne Bennett plans to lure former Rabbitohs star away from Russell Crowe’s bush footy team
- Souths are looking into bringing Sam Burgess to the club in a coaching role
- Former England international spent nine seasons with Souths over two spells
- Wayne Bennett is reportedly trying to lure Burgess to the Dolphins
- Bennett coached Burgess in 2019, the Englishman’s final season in the NRL
- Burgess currently coaches Russell Crowe’s bush footy team in NSW
Sam Burgess could be in line for a sensational return to South Sydney as the Rabbitohs look to fend off interest from the Dolphins.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe is considering bringing the former NRL star back to Redfern as an assistant coach.
The former England international has been offered a similar role by the Dolphins, with Wayne Bennett keen to add Burgess to his coaching staff ahead of the club’s inaugural NRL campaign next season.
Sam Burgess could make a shock return to the Rabbitohs in a coaching role
However, the Herald reports the Bunnies are plotting a last-ditch effort to convince Burgess to return to the club with whom he won the 2014 Grand Final.
The decision comes after Souths were thrashed 32-12 by St George on Thursday night, a game in which they trailed by 32 points at halftime.
The Rabbitohs are seventh but their defensive frailties have been repeatedly exposed this season and they have the second-worst point differential of any team currently in the top eight.
Burgess has endured a tumultuous couple of years after retiring at the end of the 2019 season because of a chronic shoulder injury. His marriage ended in acrimonious circumstances and in March he was fined $30,000 by the NRL for multiple breaches during his playing career, including use of illicit substances.
Wayne Bennet is reportedly looking to hire Burgess as assistant coach for the Dolphins
Bennett (left) visited Burgess in a bid to lure him to Redcliffe earlier this month
As a result he was also suspended from official Souths duties for 12 weeks, but remains on the club’s payroll.
The 33-year-old is expected to talk with Souths chief executive Blake Solly and it’s understood the club would be prepared to ‘jump through some hoops’ to pave the way for his NRL return.
The Rabbitohs have reportedly set out a pathway for him to earn his coaching stripes, a prospect which now appears in jeopardy because of the Dolphins’ interest.
Burgess and Crowe have maintained a close relationship and the former dual-code star has taken charge of the Hollywood star’s favourite bush footy team – the Orara Valley Axemen – this season.
Russell Crowe (right) – who owns South Sydney – is not happy about Bennett’s approach
Earlier this month, Fox Sports reported Crowe was far from pleased with the Dolphins’ attempt to lure Burgess north of the border to be reunited with Bennett.
The supercoach paid a visit to the New South Wales bush footy club a fortnight ago and was snapped with Burgess before staying at Crowe’s Nana Glenn farm.
He reportedly used the meeting to sound out Burgess’ interest in returning to the NRL in an assistant coach capacity
The Bunnies are understood to have set out a pathway for Burgess to coach at the club
The 71-year-old coached Burgess in 2019, with his first season at South Sydney coinciding with the Englishman’s final year in the NRL and has made clear he would relish the chance of working with him again.
‘I have a great rapport with Sam,’ Bennett told the Daily Telegraph.
‘He is as good a player as I’ve ever coached and as good a person as I’ve ever met. If you meet Sam Burgess, you can’t help but like him. He is a genuine guy.’