Souths Sam Burgess during the South Sydney v St. George-Illawarra NRL Semi Final at ANZ Stadium, Homebush. Picture: Brett Costello
Souths Sam Burgess during the South Sydney v St. George-Illawarra NRL Semi Final at ANZ Stadium, Homebush. Picture: Brett Costello

Burgess breaks silence on claims

SAM Burgess has held a media conference at the South Sydney Rabbitohs' Redfern training headquarters ahead of their blockbuster preliminary final against the Roosters.

The 29-year-old English star was last week embroiled in a lewd video chat scandal after his social media account was reportedly used to send nude photos to a 23-year-old woman.

The woman's claims that one Rabbitohs player exposed his genitals and another Rabbitohs player flashed his backside during an online video chat in May is now the subject of an NRL integrity unit investigation.

South Sydney has confirmed the club is also investigating an incident reported to have occurred while players were in New Zealand after a win over the Warriors in May.

Burgess played for the Rabbitohs in their win over the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Saturday and he is not expected to be stood down for the grand final qualifier against the Roosters, according to reports.

Burgess said he is unable to comment on the situation until the club's investigation concludes.

However, he made a series of massive statements surrounding the impact the unresolved situation has had on himself and his family.

"I'm not going into detail on anything," Burgess said after facing the media in Redfern.

"There's an NRL investigation going on. That's a process that we have to respect, but I'm happy for them to get to the truth, I really am."

 

Sam Burgess at training on Tuesday.
Sam Burgess at training on Tuesday.

The star forward said the hardest part of the accusations made against him is seeing the impact it has had on his family.

"With respect to the process, this has affected my wife, my family, my wife's family, it's been tough."

Burgess was calm throughout the media interrogation and repeatedly said he was unable to comment on specific aspects of the investigation. However he did say he was pleased to have an opportunity to speak publicly.

"I'm not running away or hiding," he said.

"I'm here to tell you there is an inquiry going on and until then I can't talk about it.

"I'm not angry. What hurts me the most is seeing my wife upset about what's out there."

Burgess said his team's Saturday blockbuster is his primary focus, but admitted he will consider speaking to his lawyer soon, most likely at the end of the season, to discuss his legal options surrounding the claims made against him.

"Once this process is finished I'll speak to my lawyer then," he said.

"I just want to protect my family in this whole thing."

The saga comes amid fears Rabbitohs players could be rubbed out of Saturday's grand final qualifier against the Sydney Roosters.

 

Phoebe Burgess, first instagram post after the Sam Burgess Sexting revelations.
Phoebe Burgess, first instagram post after the Sam Burgess Sexting revelations.

Burgess' brother Tom has already admitted his older sibling has "made a mistake".

The club on Friday set up a five-person panel to look into the incident, including NRL investigator Karyn Murphy, but it is unclear how long the investigation will take.

George said Sam remains focused on steering the club to another grand final.

"He's experienced enough to block it out. He's used to it. He's been criticised before, so obviously you've just got to work through it. He'll be ready to play," George told AAP on Monday.

"Sam's great. He's pulled up good after the game. We're at the best time of the year, so he's excited about playing in a prelim with his team. That's all there is to say really."

It is the second time in as many weeks the governing body has been forced to address off-field issues, beginning with Canterbury's Mad Monday antics that resulted in a $250,000 fine.

In 2016, former Sydney Roosters player Mitchell Pearce was banned for eight matches and fined $125,000 for simulating sex with a dog on video.

In the same year, Parramatta star Corey Norman was also rubbed out for eight matches and fined $20,000 for a slew of off-field misdemeanours, including his role in a sex tape.

Norman was also punished for drug possession and consorting with known criminals.

- AAP


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