Burgess writes name into Australian sports folklore

Australian Star Sam Burgess (centre) with brothers Tom and George in Dewsbury Moor jerseys during last year's Rugby World Cup, while (below) passing on tips to Moor's ladies team.
Australian Star Sam Burgess (centre) with brothers Tom and George in Dewsbury Moor jerseys during last year's Rugby World Cup, while (below) passing on tips to Moor's ladies team.

Dewsbury rugby league player Sam Brugess has written himself into Australian sporting folklore following a heroic display in the NRL Grand Final last weekend.

Burgess, who began his career at Dewsbury Moor, played a huge role in helping South Sydney Rabbitohs win their first Premiership title for 43 years.

Burgess suffered a fractured eye socket and fractured cheekbone during a collision from the first tackle of last Sunday’s NRL Grand Final against Canterbury Bulldogs.

Burgess played the entire game, despite the horrendous injury, to help South Sydney record a 30-6 win.

The 25-year-old, who lived in Liversedge before his big move to Australia, became the first non-Australian in history to win the coveted Clive Churchill medal for his man-of-the-match display.

Burgess is set for a return to England as he switches codes having signed a deal with rugby union side Bath.

Pictures of Burgess’s battered and bruised face were beamed around the world and the Dewsbury lad sank to his knees and cried at the final hooter.

South Sydney Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe played a big part in tempting Sam, along with brothers Tom, George and Luke, to move to Australia.

The four siblings, along with mum Julie, were pictured on the pitch celebrating at the end of the match.

In a pitchside interview after last Sunday’s historic win for the Rabbitohs, Hollywood super star Crowe heaped praise on the Dewsbury man, saying: “I met him (Sam) at 20 years old and I saw he had this ambition.

“I recognised what that level of ambition was. I describe him as the sparkly eyed man.

“The guy is as hard as he needs to be on the football field but as gracious as he can be off the field.

“I thought I had met one and we needed one. He has carved his name deep into the history of rugby league.”

Burgess underwent surgery on Tuesday to have a metal plate inserted on his facial injury.

Burgess tweeted to his 132,000-plus followers from his hospital bed: “Just laying in hospital waiting for surgery, I look similar to a hamster at the moment.

“I wouldn’t change anything for the world though.

“Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and congratulations. It’s been an amazing journey this year with a fitting end. Wow.”

Burgess’s return to England has been delayed while experts assess how long he will be sidelined for.

Sunday’s Grand Final triumph wasn’t just down to Sam Burgess though as brothers George and Tom were also part of the successful Rabbitohs squad.

George scored a crucial try after 56 minutes which saw Souths regain the lead they never looked like losing.

There was more good news for the Burgess clan on Monday as George and Tom were selected in England’s 24-man squad who will face Australia, New Zealand and Samoa in the forthcoming Four Nations tournament.

The three brothers were part of the England squad who reached last year’s World Cup semi-final, during which they took time out to visit the Dewsbury Moor club, where their careers began.

During their time in England, the Burgess brothers attended a game between Dewsbury Moor ladies and Batley Boys ladies.