Sam Burgess is one of the greatest English players of all time and certainly cracks the top three of Englishmen to test themselves in the NRL.
He now heads into coaching at the side where he became one of the best in the world, as assistant to former Wakefield and Keighley player Jason Demetriou at his beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Another sportsman who knows what it takes to become the best in the world is Jai Opetaia. The Australian boxer secured the cruiserweight world title when beating Latvia’s Mairi s Briedis in July.
A lifelong South Sydney fan, Opetaia trained with the Bunnies recently to improve his fitness and he had plenty to say about the impact Burgess is already having on the squad.
“Sammy Burgess has got that leader mentality, he talks and the boys listen up. As soon as he opens everyone pays attention,” Opetaia explained to Fox Sports.
“It’s good to have boys like that and the respect in the club it’s awesome to see.
“There wasn’t one bad word said about another teammate, everyone is building each other up – I love that s**t.”
Burgess, 33, moved to the Rabbitohs for a huge fee aged just 21 after tearing up Super League with Bradford Bulls.
He burst onto the international scene at 18 and remained there for over a decade, eventually captaining England in his final few years.
Having retired in 2019 due to injury, Burgess is now enjoying life on the coaching field at the club where he is held in legendary status.
Sam won the Clive Churchill medal in the 2014 NRL Grand Final as Souths defeat Canterbury Bulldods to end their long drought for a Premiership title – Burgess playing the entire game with a fractured cheekbone.
He made 180 appearances in total for the Redfern club, becoming the greatest forward in the game for a period.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the current set of players respect Burgess as he hopes to guide the Rabbitohs to success as a coach and emulate his achievements as a player in Sydney.