The Rabbitohs have paid an undisclosed fee for the 20-year-old, although Bradford do retain the first option of re-signing him should he ever decide to return to the UK.
Burgess, who has made 79 appearances for the club after coming through the academy system at the Grattan Stadium, had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave the Bulls for free from the end of next season.
Burgess said of his move: “Whilst I am excited about the prospect of playing in Australia it has been a tough decision to make.
“I have been at Bradford since I was fourteen and have many friends at the club but playing in Australia has been an ambition since I was fifteen and I am delighted that Souths have given me the opportunity to open a new chapter in my life.”
Whilst the amount Souths have paid for Burgess’s services has not been disclosed, press reports indicate that it could be at least £200,000.
“It’s a good deal for both myself and the Bulls and I have really enjoyed my time at the Grattan Stadium,” Burgess continued.
“I am who I am today because of the Bradford Bulls systems that I have been in, because of the coaches and all the people at the club. Steve McNamara in particular, has been a massive influence on my career. They have all been very influential, both for myself and my career and I won’t be turning my back on them because further down the line I’d like to think I may come back one day.”
Bulls chairman, Peter Hood, has defended his decision to cash-in on Burgess and admitted that he had attempted to keep the young star.
“It goes without saying that we are all extremely disappointed to be losing a player who’s potential to become one of the greats of the modern game is universally acknowledged.
“We did everything we reasonably could to persuade him to stay but, to be fair to Sam, he has never made any secret of his determination to test himself in the NRL at the earliest opportunity.
“We were left in no doubt that Sam would walk free at the end of next season and, that being the case; it was simply a question doing the right thing in the overall best interests of the club.
“Sam Burgess has been a huge asset to Bradford Bulls both on and off the field and a credit to the English game. He will be a great ambassador for us ‘down under’ and we wish him every success with South Sydney – until such time as we can welcome him home as a Bradford Bull once more.”