George Burgess’ new club explain how the move came about

Drew Darbyshire
George Burgess Cairns Brothers

Photo: Cairns Brothers RLFC

Former England international George Burgess will make a return to the rugby league field this year with Australian club Cairns Brothers.

The 31-year-old prop announced his retirement from the game at the end of last season. However, he has now decided to lace up his boots again in a tier three competition with Cairns Brothers, who are a feeder club to Queensland Cup side Northern Pride and North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.

Burgess’ contract with his new club is until October, where he will combine working at club events and community programmes alongside playing.

Cairns Brothers head of coaching Tim Rumford said Burgess’ experience on the big stage will be invaluable to his side.

Speaking to Love Rugby League, Rumford said: “In previous roles at Castleford as academy coach and player performance manager I had crossed paths with George a few times when he played in the Super League academy.

“I chatted with George again earlier this year. We have a fair few mutual mates and we seemed to hit it off. He’s a decent bloke and we shared some common ground.

Things went from there and we put together a role working with our league club on our community engagement program and of course playing for our A Grade Team. George was really keen to build some new experiences and reintroduce himself to the playing environment.

“It was a good fit. George’s experience will be a big boost to our club and our coaching programme. His influence on those around him will be positive and valued.”

The English links in Cairns

Burgess isn’t the only Englishman at Cairns Brothers. There is of course Rumford, and they’ve also had former London Broncos duo Daniel Hindmarsh and Matt Davies on their books in recent years, as well as ex-Oldham man Emmerson Whittel.

Rumford said: “We supply to biggest number of players to Queensland Cup in our competition. We have also had players sign with Cronulla, Bulldogs and Canberra in the last three years.

“The club is a good story. In the 70s, the football club acquired a small house which it turned into a social venue, similarly to a clubhouse in UK.

“Now on that same site is one of the most successful league clubs in North Queensland. Some very insightful people made some good decisions along the way and the club is strong. We are about to embark on a ground redevelopment also.

“Part of my role here is recruitment of players and coaches as well as overseeing the coaching and development programme.

“We’ve had some good recruits in the past three years from the UK. Emmerson Whittel did a great job for us in 2021.

“In 2022, we brought two young blokes from London in Matt Davies and Daniel Hindmarsh. I had those two on loan at Oxford in 2017. Dan won a Premiership with us last year and is now playing Queensland Cup regularly.”

George Burgess won the NRL Premiership with South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014 and made 153 appearances in the competition.

The forward won the Dally M Rookie of the Year award in 2013, and made 15 appearances for England.

He featured for Wigan in 2020 before departing on medical grounds, having made eight appearances in 2020. Burgess initially announced his retirement from the professional game in November after spending last season with St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.

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