Four week pre-season for players: Burgess

Laine Clark
South Sydney are confident they can survive despite an uncertain future due to coronavirus

Sam Burgess says NRL players will have just four weeks to prepare if the 2020 competition resumes after the postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the South Sydney assistant and ex-captain says the immediate emphasis at the Rabbitohs was mental health after receiving the sobering news that they would be shutting down for the foreseeable future.

All NRL players were expected to be sent home with individual training programs in an effort to maintain some level of fitness before the resumption of the 2020 premiership after the unprecedented season postponement's announcement on Monday.

But Burgess said South Sydney were more concerned about players ensuring they had their heads - rather than their bodies - right while on the sidelines after briefing club staff on the postponement's ramifications on Tuesday.

"The last thing we wanted to do was say you have to keep training," he told Fox League.

"The reality of the situation is that Redfern has shut down its performance centre, we can't do group sessions on the field, all the local gyms are shut down so all you can do is go for a run around the streets.

"For us it was time to get back and reconnect with family, be safe, make good choices.

"If you want to do a few runs do that but just be smart with what you are eating, and drinking - that was our guidance really, just look after your mental health.

"Do something that keeps you active but don't go crazy if you can't get to the gym and lift weights."

Burgess backed the Rabbitohs' approach, saying players would receive ample time to prepare for the 2020 season resumption once it gets the green light.

"What we are hearing is that we will get a four week lead-in to when we start again and four weeks is enough to get going," he said.

"For now we will take it slow, reconnect with people around you and then get back into some sort of routine."

In the meantime Burgess will join some of the NRL's biggest names including Rabbitohs' seven-time premiership coach Wayne Bennett sweating on a job.

"This morning we had a meeting, and the players will find out what sort of cuts they are looking at over the next 48 hours but all our staff has been stood down immediately," he said.

"Two weeks pay and that's it, we are out, then we are unemployed until we come out of this.

"Wayne is in the same boat as everyone else. He has been stood down with two weeks' pay.

"One thing we have seen is the virus doesn't discriminate."

While Burgess was confident South Sydney would survive the uncertain times, he wasn't so sure about their rivals.

"One thing with Souths is that they are a strong club and will fight through this but I fear some clubs will struggle to make it through this," he said.