Still only 20, Burgess, is able to cover the position of prop or backrower and was still under terms with the Bradford Bulls for 2010 but has been given the clubs blessing and a release so the young star could try his hand in Australia.
Burgess, who has held hopes of reaching the NRL at some stage, was being chased by a number of NRL clubs – but it was a personal meeting with Souths boss Russell Crowe, in England that sealed the deal. Burgess meeting Crowe while he was filming Robin Hood.
“It’s a fantastic deal for Sam,” confirmed player manager Chris Caisley. “He’s delighted and looking forward to testing himself.”
His resume reads very well, with Burgess getting the League’s rookie of the year award in 2007 – in the same year he represented his country for the first time. Already in the train on squad, it seems Burgess will take part in the Four Nations Rugby League series at the years end before joining the Bunnies.
The mobile forward also starred in England’s 66-12 win over France in June and it seems his English club Bradford wanted to do the right thing by him and hope he returns to them after a stint in the NRL.
He will become 1of only 3 Pommies to play in the NRL in 2010. Highly impressive Gareth Ellis remains with Wests Tigers after a solid 2009, the Tigers also securing former Wigan player Mark Flanagan.
For Souths, they are looking extremely good in terms of roster for next year. Already luring big David Taylor down South and big name prop Ben Ross comes on board for a small incentive based contract – as he looks to re-establish himself. With Rhys Wesser hopefully fit for 2010, the sky is the limit for the Bunnies if new coach John Lang can manage to keep control over the playing group.
For Burgess – its a dream to be NRL bound and the young forward wants to make the most of the new chance.
“I have been at Bradford since I was 14 and have wanted to play NRL for many years.
“I am who I am today because of the Bradford Bulls,Â coach Steve McNamara, has been a massive influence on my career.
Caisley added: “He could have more or less had his pick but he has chosen to go to Souths,” said Caisley. “They did a very good PR job.
“They were one of the clubs able to take him under the salary cap and that was the starting point and, when we met Russell Crowe, Sam liked what he heard.”