Sam Burgess’ sudden departure from South Sydney is unlikely to lead to an early switch to Warrington Wolves, Love Rugby League has learned.
Burgess left the NRL side on Wednesday, with the Rabbitohs stating it was a decision made to allow him to concentrate on the impending birth of his child and to allow him to fully prepare for his return to Super League as head coach of the Wolves next season.
However, that departure has left questions about whether the door is ajar for an earlier switch to England.
However, sources at the Wolves have told Love Rugby League it remains unlikely Burgess will make the transition to head coach this season, with the plan still for him to take the reins at the end of the season.
Interim coach Gary Chambers will remain in charge for the rest of the current campaign.
Burgess remains actively involved in plans for 2024, including recruitment and retention.
But the prospect of him appearing in the dugout at the Halliwell Jones Stadium this year appears unlikely despite him now leaving Souths.
A statement from the legendary Bunnies prop on Wednesday read: “I’ve made the decision to step away from South Sydney, given the circumstances. My immediate focus is the upcoming birth of our baby and preparing for my new role at Warrington.”
‘I think Sam’s going to be a great coach at Warrington’ – Rabbitohs boss tips Burgess for success in Super League
However, Souths knocked back intense speculation in the Australian media that a reported rift between Burgess and Rabbitohs head coach Jason Demetriou was behind the decision to part company.
Demetriou denied pushing Burgess out of the door following reports he and fellow assistant John Morris weren’t tough enough with star players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker.
“I didn’t want Sam out of the club, no,” Demetriou said. “But it is what it is, the decision’s been made. Sam’s made his decision. I wish him well. I think Sam’s going to be a great coach in Warrington. I’ve got no doubt he’ll be back here one day.”
Souths CEO Blake Solly added: ”The question was asked of everyone ‘is that the preference to get on and work together for the rest of the season and John (Morris) was yes and Sam (Burgess) and the club agreed that Sam has got some other priorities to work on.
“His partner is about to give birth, he’s got the Warrington job and he’s becoming increasingly involved with preparations for next season. And Sam felt it was in his interest not to.”