Sam Burgess makes startling admission about Wayne Bennett amid Souths fallout

The Souths legend revealed Wayne Bennett convinced him to take the head coaching job at English Super League club Warrington.

Pictured Sam Burgess and right with Wayne Bennett
Sam Burgess has revealed that Wayne Bennett convinced him to take the job as head coach of English Super League club Warrington after his sudden Souths exit. Image: Getty

NRL legend Sam Burgess has lifted the lid on his sudden exit from the Rabbitohs and how super coach Wayne Bennett convinced him to take up a head coaching job in England. Burgess left his role as assistant coach at the Rabbitohs last year after it was claimed that he was undermining coach Jason Demetriou.

The Rabbitohs endured a tumultuous end to their 2023 season in which they made unwanted history by missing out on finals footy, despite leading the competition after round 11. Burgess' departure only added to the club's woes as he shone a light on a potential culture issue at the Bunnies.

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Burgess fell out with the Souths hierarchy after he questioned the club's training standards. He claimed stars such as Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker were given preferential treatment by the club's coaches before he ended up leaving the club.

Since then Burgess has landed on his feet, signing a deal to coach Warrington in the English Super League in what is his first job as a professional head coach. But it almost wasn't the case, with Burgess telling the UK Telegraph that Wayne Bennett had to convince him to take the job as most of his advice before his conversation with the Dolphins coach was to take some time away from the game.

"I was finishing up at Souths and this just came up. A lot of people advised me to take a bit more time but Wayne Bennett told me, 'Go do it. It's the only way you're going to learn'," Burgess said ahead of his Super League coaching debut. "It was a sliding doors moment.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs coaching staff watches on during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL training session at Redfern Oval on February 27, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Sam Burgess left his role as assistant coach at the Rabbitohs last year after it was claimed that he was undermining coach Jason Demetriou. Image: Getty

"It wasn't a plan but it was a great opportunity outside my comfort zone. I wanted to be a head coach in the long run and I thought this was just a great fit. It is such a great club to be part of."

The 35-year-old retired from the NRL in 2019 as a result of persistent shoulder problems. He played 182 NRL games for Souths Sydney, winning the premiership with them in 2014.

Sam Burgess reflects on post-NRL career spiral

Speaking ahead of his Super League foray, Burgess spoke about how he struggled with a lack of purpose after his playing career. The Souths great said he went into an off-field spiral after retiring. After hanging up his boots, his marriage fell apart and he went through several legal issues relating to former wife Phoebe and her father. "When I first retired I had a rough time. I did not have a purpose or a drive and I really struggled with that," he told the Telegraph.

"For such a big part of my life, for so many years, I had that sense of belonging to a group and having a responsibility. Almost instantly that had gone. In that time when I was away from the game I was just totally lost. I don't find many things hard but I found that period very hard to manage. I didn't make great decisions.

"I didn't know how to manage it emotionally. I didn't understand how I was feeling. It's something I wasn't equipped for. I had to go and spend a lot of time working on myself and understanding those feelings and emotions which young men really don't do a lot of."

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