The Rugby league world is paying tribute to George Burgess after the NRL premiership-winning prop announced that he was calling time on his professional career. Burgess' return to the NRL has been an unhappy one after he was released by the St George Illawarra last month, following a drama-filled first year back in Australia's competition.
Burgess - who famously won a premiership with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014 - revealed on social media on Sunday that he was hanging up the boots for good. Still only 30 - the destructive prop's career will end with 153 NRL games to his name as well as 15 Tests for England.
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"It is with a heavy heart that I officially announce my retirement from rugby league. It has been a dream come true to live out my boyhood dream and represent my family and country through my time especially at South Sydney and England," Burgess posted on Instagram.
"Unfortunately injuries ended my career before I would've liked but I am a happy man walking away from this beautiful game with my achievements."
A star forward at South Sydney, Burgess was unlucky not to be named Clive Churchill Medallist in the club's drought-breaking grand-final win over Canterbury in 2014. The middle forward ran 200 metres in the Rabbitohs' 30-6 grand-final win over Canterbury, while also scoring the go-ahead try in the second half. Instead it was his brother Sam that took man-of-the-match honours after famously playing through the pain of multiple fractures in his eye socket from a brutal collision with Canterbury's James Graham.
Rugby league world pays tribute to George Burgess
Since that grand final triumph, George Burgess has developed into one of the game's best front-rowers at the Rabbitohs, before exiting the club for Wigan in 2020. He suffered a career-threatening hip injury that restricted him to just eight games with the Wigan Warriors.
However, earlier this year he became the first professional rugby league player to return from hip resurfacing surgery when he signed a two-year deal with the Dragons. However it was to be short-lived. The prop was charged with sexual touching without consent before later checking into a rehabilitation facility. Burgess is set to fight the charge, and ended the year by playing 11 games in reserve grade.
But his hopes of a first-grade return are now likely over, with injuries set to spell a premature end to the Englishman's career. Burgess' retirement leaves twin brother Tom as the last active playing member of the Burgess clan - the 30-year-old still having one year remaining on his deal with the Rabbitohs.
Rugby league fans have been quick to pay tribute to George Burgess on social media and congratulate him on a fantastic career, following the sad retirement news.
2014 Premiership winning front-rower, George Burgess has announced his retirement from Rugby League.
George played 153 NRL games which included 149 for the Rabbitohs and 4 for the Dragons.
All the best in retirement! #NRL #RugbyLeague #GoRabbitohs #RedV pic.twitter.com/Ovi7v0EmUF
— The Sweep League (@TheSweepLeague) November 27, 2022
Heartbreaking news! Nothing can take away that 2014 superb GF performance from you ❤️💚
— The Cast Patrol (@thecastpatrol) November 27, 2022
George Burgess has announced his retirement from Rugby League, ending the hope of a fairytale finish with the Rabbitohs. Burgess finishes with 153 NRL games (149 for Souths), 8 Super League appearances and 15 tests for England.
— The League Scene (@LeagueScenePod) November 27, 2022
Gets easily forgotten amongst the emotion of the day and heroics of others, but George Burgess was monumental in that 2014 GF and probably should’ve got the Clive. Will always be grateful for that, happy retirement GB
— ✨ (@iam_rb01) November 27, 2022
Good luck to him.
A rare thing for a Pom, all of his test appearances for England came when he was playing in the NRL, living in Australia. George Burgess played 15 tests for England from 2013-2018, but didn't play in the Super League with Wigan until 2020.
— Not You (@IWasBornIn1975) November 27, 2022
Best of luck to @burgessgeorge, who has just announced his immediate retirement from rugby league.
Still remember dad and I having to sit in the Kennel, first Rabbitohs Grand Final in both our lives, and George scoring one of the great #NRLGF tries in front of us.
All the best! pic.twitter.com/yylDSOITm7
— Jack Blyth (@jblesfooty224) November 27, 2022
Thankyou George you are loved and respected by all us Souths supporters I hope you realise that please still be a presence around the team the young boys could use your knowledge ❤️💚we are the Rabbitohs family and we stand by you always
— Irene (@IreneReni123) November 27, 2022
— Val (@Val18074295) November 27, 2022
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