The Burgess Brothers are never too far from RL Headlines – And currently in the news is Tom.
In recent weeks, the South Sydney Rabbitohs prop has been vocal about his interest in a move to boyhood club Leeds, describing the idea of playing for the Rhinos as ‘pretty cool’. His contract at Souths is entering its final 12 months and we’ve also now entered the window in which NRL players who are off contract at the end of 2023 are able to sign pre contract deals.
So if he truly is keen on a Super League move, here’s a few prospective destinations for the Englishman for 2023 and beyond, and maybe even earlier.
As mentioned, Burgess had shown in recent interviews that he’d like to pull on an amber and blue jersey at some point in his career. The reason for the open ended statement suggesting that he could move earlier is because of the recent retirement of veteran forward Matt Prior, after he brought his exit from the game forward by a season. With space freed up early on the salary cap as a result, and an influential forward lost, the Rhinos might look at keeping Burgess on the UK shores after the end of the World Cup, and try to strike a deal with Souths securing Burgess’ release from his contract a year early. Particularly with the immense impact Rohan Smith had after arriving at Headingley during last season, Burgess himself might see this as the perfect time to join Leeds, and be part of what Rohan is trying to build after reaching the Grand Final last season.
The Leigh Leopards have already made a number of statement signings but this would be a real statement of their Super League intent especially as they chase another middle forward as owner Derek Beaumont confirmed.
Like Leigh, Huddersfield are no strangers to making statement signings and they could bring the Yorkshireman to the club perhaps in 2024. Based on his brilliant combination with Chris Hill at the Rugby League World Cup, it could be a winning partnership.
Situation at Souths
Not only this, but numerous Souths stars are also off contract, including Latrell Mitchell, Damien Cook and Cody Walker, meaning that the Salary Cap question is inevitably going to be asked, as the mentioned players are likely to be higher on the priority list for Souths to secure the long term futures of. Consequently, although Burgess stated that ‘he wasn’t thinking about it’, the 300 appearance Prop will likely want his future confirmed soon, as, at 30, he’s arguably right around the peak of his powers and won’t want to spend any more time than necessary at the table. Particularly with that aforementioned window open for off contract signings, the majority of teams will have a pool of targets already to bring in for 2024, and those more certain of their situations will obviously be in a better place to talk to new clubs. Subsequently, agreeing a deal ahead of 2023 might be the best move, and depart with the legend’s farewell that he deserves, or even departing ahead of 2023 to get a new start in England or Australia and get straight into proceedings at new employers.
Whatever twists and turns the Burgess situation takes, it’s safe to say we’ll get nothing concrete until at least after the World Cup and potentially beyond. The World Cup has been another showcase of his ability, and his mind will be purely on trying to get England to Old Trafford on Saturday as the Three Lions face Samoa.