Smith plots Burgess NRL return

NRL chief executive David Smith has hinted that he may use his “exceptional power” to find a way to lure Sam Burgess back from rugby union.

While Burgess is set to play union for Bath once his injured face heals, Smith has implied that plans could already be afoot to bring Burgess ‘home’ as soon as possible.

Indeed, Smith wants the Clive Churchill Medal winner back as soon as his commitments to the 15-man code are complete in 2016.

“I would always have him back, he’s a great man and a great player,” Smith told The Courier-Mail.

“Sam is chasing his dreams (in rugby union) and that’s fair enough, I don’t have a problem with that, but I’ve said to Sam, he’s always welcome back in this game.

“I’ve got exceptional power, which I can use if I think it’s for the greater good of the game.

“If there is any player that meets that criteria I would absolutely use it and there’s no doubt for me that Sam Burgess is a phenomenon.”

The new discretionary powers were introduced in May. They allow financial assistance to help clubs target or retain so-called ‘marquee’ players, when “exceptional circumstances” come into play.

“The grand final was the culmination of an amazing game of football and Sam produced the man-of-the-match performance,” Smith added.

“His bravery astounded me, there were a lot of brave players out there. James Graham (Bulldogs prop) was unbelievable, but Sam is a special player.

“He’s a terrific bloke and a great athlete so I’d love to see him back.

“I wish him well but I have my fingers crossed he’ll play in the NRL again.”

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