Communication between Sam Burgess and Russell Crowe has reportedly been “limited” in the last few months, with the once-strong relationship said to be “fractured”.
According to Channel Nine’s Danny Weidler, Burgess and South Sydney co-owner Crowe aren’t exactly on speaking terms as the Rabbitohs deal with the fallout from disturbing allegations against Burgess.
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Writing in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday, Weidler claimed: “It was played down by both parties, but I’ve been told communication between the pair has been limited during the past six months. Some say it’s non-existent.”
“Their relationship certainly wasn’t what it was when the pair embraced following the 2014 grand final,” Weidler added.
Last week Brent Read of the Australian reported that Crowe could be asked to speak with the NRL Integrity Unit as part of their investigation into the Burgess allegations.
“He could be called on to help the NRL with its inquiries into the saga that has engulfed the club - which he co-owns with Crown Resorts billionaire James Packer - although a final decision has yet to be made, sources said,” Read wrote.
Crowe lured Burgess to the Rabbitohs from England in 2010, with the pair becoming good mates.
Crowe was also thought to be very close with Burgess’ brothers and mother.
The pair then shared an iconic moment after Burgess helped Souths win the 2014 premiership, embracing on the field after full-time.
Sam Burgess stands down amid investigation
Burgess has stood down as assistant coach of South Sydney as the NRL and NSW Police investigated claims of serious misconduct.
The NRL has been shocked by allegations published in The Australian and has instructed its integrity unit to speak to South Sydney officials.
The newspaper report alleged drug use and domestic violence by the former Rabbitohs captain, behaviour which was then alleged to have been covered up by the famous NRL club.
Burgess, an integral part of Souths' NRL premiership success in 2014, denies the allegations.
His lawyer told The Australian: “the allegations are false and constitute indefensible defamation against my client”.
South Sydney will cooperate with the investigation and in a statement said they are treating the allegations with the utmost seriousness.
“There is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women,” the statement read.
“If anyone is found guilty of allegations of this nature, the club will take the strongest possible action.
“The club takes issues of drug use very seriously and has well-established policies and procedures in place around the use of performance enhancing or illicit/recreational/prescription drugs.”
The 31-year-old Burgess has also stood down from his role with Fox Sports as a rugby league analyst, confirming so in a one-line statement.
“I have today stood down from all work commitments,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NSW medical watchdog is investigating the role of any and all health providers who may be linked to allegations of serious misconduct by Burgess.
The state's Health Care Complaints Commissioner confirmed last week it had established an inquiry in response to media reports naming Burgess, and other information.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald suggested South Sydney’s club doctor Andrew McDonald was the focus of the inquiry.
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