Matty Johns has warned South Sydney that they will regret the departure of assistant coach Sam Burgess, while brother Andrew has questioned why the situation wasn't addressed earlier. Burgess left his role on Wednesday, just two weeks out from the NRL finals.
The club legend had reportedly expressed his concerns over the 'soft' treatment of Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker, as well as some of the standards that coach Jason Demetriou was failing to uphold. While the official story is Burgess wanted to focus on the upcoming birth of his child and his move to the head coaching role at Warrington next year, the rumours are he couldn't fall into line with Demetriou anymore.
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Discussing the situation this week, Newcastle Knights greats Matty and Andrew Johns both took aim at Souths hierarchy. “I am blown away by it," Matty said on his podcast. "I don’t know the nuances of what is going on there, but if Sam Burgess says we have a problem here, then guess what? We have a problem here.
"I am really shocked by it. They have two weeks to get their sh*t together, they have a big game coming up against the Roosters. When you are trying to get your sh*t together and you are consolidating and getting everyone going, Sam Burgess in my opinion would have been manna from heaven, he is the sort of bloke you need."
The Rabbitohs face a do-or-die clash with the Roosters in the final round of the regular season in a game that looks likely to determine who makes the finals and who will be going on Mad Monday. To make matters worse for the Rabbitohs, they will be playing without Mitchell due to his 'brain-snap' elbow on Tyson Frizell.
Andrew Johns takes aim at South Sydney hierarchy
Andrew Johns questioned why the issues revolving around Mitchell and Burgess and the culture at the club weren't rectified earlier. "If the murmurs have been around for a while and everyone's heard them, how come it hasn't stopped?" Johns said on the 'Freddy and the Eighth' podcast. "If it's a senior player, the CEO... he's always got plenty to say, why didn't he nip it in the bud?
"The more worrying thing for me is how it's got to this point, and was it nipped in the bud four weeks ago, two months ago or whatever? You've got to ask who has the responsibility to do that?"
The Johns brothers aren't alone in their disbelief at how Souths have treated a club legend in Burgess, who helped steer them to a drought-breaking premiership in 2014. Tigers great Benny Elias said Burgess should feel "insulted" by the way his time as assistant coach has ended.
“Obviously what’s happened, with two games to go, to be asked to leave the place is disgusting, insulting and terrible. There’s no two ways about it,” Elias said. "He expects the highest standards from all of his players and those standards haven’t been met.”
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