In the rugby league world, one man's meat is another man's poison. One of the reasons given for Sam Burgess' sudden and acrimonious departure from South Sydney was his relentless pursuit of excellence with no cutting of corners.
It's well known he was unimpressed with Latrell Mitchell's attitude, form, fitness and commitment and called the superstar fullback out on it. He also believed Mitchell and Cody Walker were given preferential treatment and told head coach Jason Demetriou as much.
When he was not convinced things would change and that standards would lift, Burgess walked out the door in a sad and lonely end for a club legend. Watching all this from a distance has been Burgess' new club, the Warrington Wolves.
The Englishman will take over the reins at Halliwell James Stadium next year in his first shot at a head coaching role. And far from being put off by the dramas unfolding at Souths, the Super League club is liking what it's hearing. They feel the sort of tough love Burgess dished out at the Bunnies is just what they need.
"From what I've read he's challenged a few players," interim Wolves coach Gary Chambers told the Warrington Guardian. "I don’t know if it's true, but that's what he’s going to do if he loves the club and thinks a lot of the place like he does.
"If you get someone with you who has a vested interest in a place and has a real care for something, then they’re the sort of people you want. That’s why he’ll be good for us when he comes in, because he's invested and he's committed to what we’re trying to do.
"Those traits are going to be massively important for us. He's got that aura about him – he's a people person - so anything like that is brilliant for us."
Warrington not expecting Sam Burgess arrival sooner
In explaining his abrupt exit from the Rabbitohs, Burgess and the club both indicated the need to focus on the Warrington job was a key reason for his earlier-than-expected departure. But the Wolves are not expecting his sudden availability to fast-track an arrival for the back-end of the 2023 Super League season.
"Would I like to see him over earlier? Yes, absolutely, that would be great, but I don’t think it will happen," Chambers said. "He was on about coming in October, he’s not on about changing his plans. His partner Lucy is about to give birth and he's becoming increasingly involved with the preparation for next season.
"He’s got a lot to deal with over there in getting things sorted. What I think it might do is accelerate things in helping him to get sorted."
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