Former Wigan Warriors and current St George Illawarra Dragons forward has entered rehab in a bid to deal with personal issues, but he won’t play again in 2022.
News Corp revealed earlier this week that Burgess had spent the last month in the facility dealing with personal issues and is nearing the end of the process, but he will not play again for the Dragons this season.
And, that has led to some claims that the ex-Wigan man will be leaving the club completely after failing to inspire any kind of impact since joining St George. An NRL rival could make a move on a cut-price deal, with a potential for a feeder team deal.
The Dragons confirmed Burgess’ leave in a statement earlier this week, but revealed that it has nothing to do with his current criminal issue.
“St George Illawarra can confirm forward George Burgess was recently granted a leave of absence,” the statement read.
“Burgess’s absence is of a personal nature and unrelated to his current criminal matter.
“The Dragons will make no further comment.”
Burgess was charged with sexually touching another person without consent in March with the hearing set to take place in February next year.
Burgess’ lawyer Bryan Wrench told the court they are still waiting on DNA results, stating: “We have the brief of evidence but we still need DNA results … there’s no DNA evidence of him,” Wrench addressed the court.
He has previously informed the court that there was “significant dispute” over the events of March 8, with Burgess helping police with their investigation following the complaint being made by the woman.
It’s understood that the hearing, to be held in 2023, will only take one day, with a date to be set later this month.
The NRL previously released this statement: “So as not to prejudice Burgess’ criminal proceedings case, the NRL will wait the outcome of that case before taking any action for possible breaches of NRL rules.
“The decision in no way forms a judgement on the allegations against Burgess which are serious and the NRL reserves the right to impose a No Fault Stand Down in the future.”
New South Wales Police stated in March: “Earlier this month officers attached to South Sydney Police Area Command commenced an investigation into reports a woman was sexually touched by a man known to her on Tuesday 8th March.
“Those inquiries are continuing.”
The 30-year-old joined the Dragons this season on a two-year deal after having serious, invasive surgery that brought his stay with Wigan in Super League to an early end after he joined the Lancashire club on a marquee deal.
Burgess has played four NRL games and nine reserve grade games for the club this season, but his last game came in Round 15, in June, when he played in the New South Wales Cup after falling out fo favour with head coach Anthony Griffin.