Burgess makes surprise appearance


SYDNEY: Sam Burgess hinted a decision on whether he returns to the National Rugby League’s (NRL) as a coaching assistant could be imminent after making a surprise visit to New South Wales (NSW) training on the eve of their State of Origin defence. Burgess, who is coaching the Russell Crowe-backed Orara Valley Axemen on NSW’s mid-north coast, made a flying visit to Sydney and watched the key Blues session alongside coach Brad Fittler at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday evening.
Dolphins coach and Burgess’ former Rabbitohs mentor Wayne Bennett took time out of his schedule to watch the Axemen play Macksville last month, and could offer the Clive Churchill Medal winner a role at the NRL’s newest franchise.
Asked about a return to an NRL club, Burgess said: “There are a couple of things in the pipeline.
“I’ve got a couple of decisions to make about what’s best for my development, so we’ll see how we go.
“(Coaching Orara Valley) is the best thing I’ve done and I’m out of the headlines.
I’ve made mistakes without (the scrutiny).
“It’s not as high a level, and I understand it’s my first year doing it, but it’s been really good.
“I’ve been great friends with Freddy for the last 10 or 12 years and he just reached out.
“By chance, I was in town.
I miss the high-pressure environment as well, and it was good to be around here and feel the intensity.
” Fittler has always been proactive in bringing more knowledge to the Blues, whether it be from rugby league or other sporting and lifestyle speakers, and Burgess’ cameo was one which even caught NSW players unaware.
“We’ve let the Englishman wear the blue jumper and he’s only going to add to what we’re doing, and it’s nice to have him here,” Burgess’ former South Sydney teammate Damien Cook said.