Sam Burgess has revealed he is considering a shock comeback to professional rugby league next year.
Burgess has returned to the Rabbitohs’ bubble and has been training hard, with his strong fitness an encouraging sign that he could make a potential return.
“Definitely not this season,” he told Fox League.
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“I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind.
“I’ve been back in the bubble training and the body feels good but it’s just a dream at the moment.
“I’ve really been enjoying being back with the team, it’s great and just seeing them improve day-by-day. It’s just good to be around them.”
Fox League’s Braith Anasta revealed that Burgess has “that feeling” again after a medical retirement at the end of last year due to a chronic shoulder problem.
It brought to an end a stunning 182-game career with the Rabbitohs.
“There’s a fair chance,” Anasta said.
“I know since being back in the bubble he has been extremely fit.
“He’s trained really hard and he’s got that buzz and feeling again. It wouldn’t surprise me if he put the boots on next year.”
He did admit though that Burgess has a big decision to make as he is also considered a strong chance of progressing to a coaching role in the future.
“I know he has huge aspirations to coach,” he added.
“He’s got to make that decision. It is a reality he could be playing next year.”
Ben Ikin said that Burgess can take up a coaching opportunity well into the future though and that if he is feeling it, he should take the chance to revive his career.
“He can do that in five to 10 years,” he said.
“Here’s the thing. He is one of the greatest enforcers we have ever seen in this game.
“His capacity to set the mood for his team and influence a result given the position he plays which is in the middle is as good as I have ever seen from a forward.
“If he is getting the sense that shoulder, which was pretty chronic before he retired, is healed and he can get himself fit enough to play next year.
“I think that would be such a wonderful story. If I’m Wayne Bennett I’m not thinking about going to that next club next year because if Sam Burgess is playing I’m staying at the Rabbitohs.
“If Sam Burgess drops back into this team they immediately become a premiership force.”
Michael Ennis said that Burgess’ impact could be seen in the turnaround of South Sydney’s pack given it was one of their biggest question marks heading into 2020.
“You can see that in the way they’re playing,” he said.
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“It’s a respect thing. The moment he came into the bubble, the legacy he has left behind, particularly their middle forwards has it not.
“The fact that we all sat here at the start of the year and thought: ‘No George, no Sam, no John Sutton. Where are they going to get that momentum game that they like to play?’ In the early stages of the season they struggled.
“But when Sam came back into the bubble he instilled this belief into the forward pack and in particular the young blokes – Jayd’n Su’A, Mago, Keaon Koloamatangi – have all of a sudden become household names and powerhouse players off the bench.
“He’s had a huge impact. Whether or not he can play again only he would know with the signifcance of that shoulder injury.”
Anasta added that Burgess even took it upon himself to try and bring South Sydney’s spine together with a restaurant outing after he noticed they appeared to be lacking cohesion in attack.
“When he went back into the bubble he took the spine for dinner, he thought they were disconnected,” he said.
“He took them straight to dinner and they’ve fired every since.”
Originally published as NRL star considers bombshell return