Wayne Bennett breaks silence over Sam Burgess allegations

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A 50-50 split image shows Wayne Bennett on the left and Sam Burgess on the right.
South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett is adamant the allegations levelled against former player turned assistant coach Sam Burgess will not be a distraction for the Rabbitohs during the NRL finals. Pictures: Getty Images

South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett is adamant the Rabbitohs' NRL finals campaign will be unaffected by allegations of serious misconduct involving retired star Sam Burgess.

The Rabbitohs will start their post-season in an elimination final against Newcastle at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

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NSW Police on Saturday launched Strike Force Irrabella into allegations against Burgess detailed by The Australian on Friday.

The NRL are also investigating both Burgess and the South Sydney club over the allegations.

Burgess, an integral part of Souths' NRL premiership success in 2014, denies any wrongdoing.

His lawyer told The Australian "the allegations are false and constitute indefensible defamation against my client".

The former Rabbitohs captain stepped down as one of Bennett's assistants on Friday but the veteran coach says the matter has no bearing on any of the current playing group.

"You can make it out as big a headline as you like, you can talk it up as big as you like, but I'm telling you now it's not going to have any impact on the playing group here because it's distant from us," Bennett said.

"It's got nothing to do with us and it's not something that's happened here at the time that I was here.

"It will not affect the team in any form, shape or manner."

Wayne Bennett dismisses NRL culture concerns

Burgess's brother Tom will play against the Knights and trained with the team on Saturday.

"I didn't ask him," Bennett said when asked how 28-year-old Tom was going.

"He wasn't jittery or crying in the corner."

Bennett also dismissed concerns about the club's culture after the allegations, saying he had no knowledge of any of the issues raised until the report came out.

Sam Burgess is pictured before an NRL game for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
A series of troubling allegations involving domestic violence and drug use have been levelled against Sam Burgess. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

"You're talking to the wrong guy," Bennett said.

"It's got nothing to do with me.

"You go find the people it's got something to do with. Talk to them."

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