Sam Burgess has admitted the prospect of being reunited with Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins is ‘appetising’ as the former South Sydney star opened up on his next steps in the NRL.
The 71-year-old coached Burgess in 2019, with his first season at South Sydney coinciding with the Englishman’s final year in the NRL and the duo could join forces again in Redcliffe.
Bennett has made no mystery he would like to have the 33-year-old as one of his assistant coaches for the Dolphins’ inaugural NRL campaign next season and Burgess admitted the temptation may prove too hard to resist.
Sam Burgess (left) has admitted he would relish the chance of working with Wayne Bennett
‘It is appetising,’ Burgess told former teammate James Graham on his new podcast, The Bye Round with James Graham.
‘I have worked with Wayne for a long time with England and at Souths. You know how much of a great man he is.
‘So as a young aspiring coach, it is appetising. Also what I like about it too is it is not another NRL club — I don’t have any history with that club, I don’t have any sort of bad blood or whatever.’
According to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph, Burgess is set to meet with Rabbitohs executives to thrash out his future.
Bennett is reportedly looking to hire Burgess as assistant coach for the Dolphins
Bennett (left) visited Burgess in a bid to lure him to Redcliffe earlier this month
In March, Burgess was fined $30,000 by the NRL for multiple breaches during his playing career, including use of illicit substances.
As a result he was also suspended from official Souths duties for 12 weeks, but remains on the club’s payroll.
The Rabbitohs have reportedly set out a pathway for him to earn his coaching stripes, a prospect which now appears in jeopardy because of the Dolphins’ interest.
The former dual-code star, who won the 2014 NRL Grand Final and retired in 2019, has taken charge of the Russel Crowe’s favourite bush footy team – the Orara Valley Axemen – this season.
Russell Crowe (right) – who owns South Sydney – is not happy about Bennett’s approach
The Bunnies are understood to have set out a pathway for Burgess to coach at the club
The Hollywood star, who co-owns the Rabbitohs, is reportedly far from happy with the Dolphins’ attempt to lure Burgess north of the border to be reunited with Bennett.
The supercoach paid a visit to the New South Wales bush footy club a fortnight ago and was snapped with Burgess before staying at Crowe’s Nana Glenn farm.
He reportedly used the meeting to sound out Burgess’ interest in returning to the NRL in an assistant coach capacity.
The former England international admitted the chance to work alongside one of the greats of the game could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Burgess won the Clive Churchill Medal as Souths triumphed in the 2014 NRL Grand Final
‘Also the chance to learn next to Wayne on a new franchise, when does that come around? It is not often a new franchise comes along and Wayne Bennett is the coach,’ he added.
‘In that respect I think it is a good opportunity for growth. There is a bit to get through yet before we get there.’
Burgess, however, admitted that while he would sign for the Dolphins were he to follow his head, an emotional return to Souths would be difficult to turn down.
The Englishman spent his entire NRL career at Redfern across two separate spells
‘I wouldn’t say it is there,’ he said when asked whether his head was with the Dolphins.
‘Like I am interested in it for sure. I would be stupid not to be.
‘My head, my heart is probably South Sydney because I gave so much to the club. I feel that deep draw to the place.
‘Wayne wants me there, I would like to work with him.’