“To all South Sydney Members and fans, fans of the game and even the supporters that aren’t my biggest fans, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making my career what it was in the NRL,” Burgess wrote.
“I have loved absolutely every minute; the highs, the lows; the Grand Final; coming home; my injuries; my dates with the judiciary. It really has been a fantastic ride.
“This decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially. I am no longer able to be myself day in, day out on the training field and consequently the playing field.
“I’d like to encourage everyone to smile as they read this. Let’s all remember what we have done together as a Club over the past decade rather than what’s not to be in the coming years.
“We have some amazing young men at the Club and it’s in safe hands. I will stay close and help grow the Club continually in any way I can.
“To my team mates and coaches along the way, I’d like to thank you all for being supportive and great men. I’ve learnt so much in my ten years here. From the young boys all the way through to ‘the fossil’ John Sutton. I value each friendship created and they’ll last a lifetime.
“To Russell – for making all this happen initially – I’ll be forever indebted to you. Your passion is infectious.
“To the Board of Directors, and all of our wonderful men and women in the office making everything possible, thank you.
“My family have been by my side the whole way, on and off the field. I love you all so much.
“Maybe I’ll come and watch a game in The Burrow next year. You truly are the heartbeat of the Club.
“I’m sure you’ll agree with me, the spirit of South Sydney is alive and will live long after me. It will always be a huge part of my heart. Just like it is yours.
Rabbitohs head coach Wayne Bennett paid tribute to Slammin’ Sam having spent time with the forward at both club and international level in recent years.
“I was lucky enough to coach Sam in the All Stars game in 2010. I’d had heard so much about this Englishman that I had to see him for myself,” Coach Bennett said.
“Then I had the opportunity to coach him with England and I was hoping to coach him again this year with Great Britain. He was one of the drawcards for me in coming to coach at South Sydney.
“His leadership and capabilities on the field match the man he is off it. I thought it was a real blow to the game when he left to play Rugby Union but I’m glad he saw the light and came back.
“I’m glad to have played a small role in his career and I feel blessed that he has been part of mine. I know he has made the right decision.
“He’ll be a South Sydney man forever and he should be very proud of everything he has achieved over the past 14 years.”
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