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Sport Rabbits in the spotlight as Burgess allegations go public

14:18  02 october  2020
14:18  02 october  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

NRL star Sam Burgess rejects allegations in a newspaper report

  NRL star Sam Burgess rejects allegations in a newspaper report The explosive claims about the 31-year-old former Rabbitohs player were published on Thursday night by The Australian. The article included text messages Burgess' ex-wife Phoebe allegedly sent to Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, who owns the NRL club. Staff members at South Sydney Rabbitohs have also been accused of covering up Burgess' alleged indiscretions. The lawyer acting for Burgess, Mark O'Brien, strongly denied all allegations. 1/3 SLIDES © Provided by Daily Mail NRL star Sam Burgess has rejected serious allegations about his marriage.

"These allegations are very serious and I’ve instructed the Integrity Unit to investigate the claims as a priority. "This is new information for the NRL and it is important we now gather the facts. The allegations have not yet been tested and due process will be followed as we undertake a thorough

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There have been concerns for some time about the way Sam Burgess - former South Sydney Rabbitohs captain and hero of the 2014 grand final win - had been living his life in retirement.

Sam Burgess et al. standing in a room: MERCURY SPORT NRL GRAND FINAL. 2014 NRL Grand Final, Canterbury Bulldogs vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. South Sydney Rabbitoh's celebrate winning the Grand Final. Sam Burgess talking with Russel Crowe. Photo taken on the 5th of October, 2014. Photo Christopher Chan © Christopher Chan MERCURY SPORT NRL GRAND FINAL. 2014 NRL Grand Final, Canterbury Bulldogs vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. South Sydney Rabbitoh's celebrate winning the Grand Final. Sam Burgess talking with Russel Crowe. Photo taken on the 5th of October, 2014. Photo Christopher Chan

A few months ago, he stopped working for Fox Sports amid rumours about his lifestyle and joined Souths players and coaches in their biosecurity bubble. Burgess had been given a chance to straighten himself out, appointed to the coaching team and mentored by one of the game's most respected figures, Wayne Bennett. He looks so fit that there has been speculation about a playing comeback.

NRL vows to come down hard on Sam Burgess if allegations are proven

  NRL vows to come down hard on Sam Burgess if allegations are proven The former Rabbitohs star was the subject of an explosive article by The Australian, which published claims about his marriage and wild lifestyle. In the wake of the allegations, the 31-year-old stood down from his roles as Rabbitohs coaching assistant and Fox Sports commentator. The NRL and NSW Police have both launched investigations into the allegations. NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the claims against Burgess are 'very serious allegations', which are 'new information' to the league.

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But on Thursday night, that image was shattered. A bombshell investigation by The Australian painted a heinous picture of a 116kg footballer out of control in the final stages of his career - and then even more so after he was medically retired at the end of last season.

The report levelled extremely serious domestic violence allegations at the Englishman and was published a year to the day after Burgess left his marriage to wife Phoebe and their family home in Maroubra. While none of the allegations against Burgess have been proven, the reporting made for horrific reading, containing claims of violence, illicit drug abuse and complicity by some at his beloved club. The NRL has said that if the allegations are true, serious action will be taken against Burgess and the club.

Rabbitohs Officials Respond To Cover-Up Claims Amid Explosive Sam Burgess Allegations

  Rabbitohs Officials Respond To Cover-Up Claims Amid Explosive Sam Burgess Allegations A report in The Australian Newspaper on Friday resulted in Sam Burgess standing down from his roles with the Rabbitohs and Fox Sports.Burgess is being investigated by both NSW Police and the NRL Integrity Unit in response to the bombshell report which included allegations of substance abuse and domestic violence.

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By lunchtime on Friday, Burgess had stood himself down from his duties as an assistant coach at Souths, meaning he won't attend the Rabbitohs' elimination final against Newcastle on Sunday.

But a game of football is the least of his concerns - not only do he and the club now face an investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit, a criminal probe is also under way.

The culture of football clubs is to protect their own. Some are afforded more protection than others, with premiership-winning superstars like Burgess given more rope than the lesser names in the squad.

And that's why Burgess wasn't the only one ducking for cover on Friday. There are wider implications for his club and the code. Souths stand accused of covering up his destructive behaviour, including complaints from a Melbourne woman who he allegedly abused when he called off their extramarital affair in late 2017 at the Rugby League World Cup.

Sam Burgess' mum and brother emerge after tense crunch talks

  Sam Burgess' mum and brother emerge after tense crunch talks The 31-year-old stood down from his coaching role at the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday after the damning claims were published in The Australian. The NRL and NSW Police have both launched investigations into the allegations. Burgess' mother Julie and brother Luke met with the former NRL star in Coogee, the city's eastern suburbs, on Saturday. They were joined by lawyer Bryan Wrench. The footballer's mother, who relocated to Australia to be with her English-born sons, wore a large grey hoodie over black leggings.

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The NRL Integrity Unit is adamant it wasn't aware of those claims, in which Burgess allegedly told her, "You are f...ing dead" after she refused to take his calls.

What, if anything, did chief executive Blake Solly know about all this? What about chairman Nick Pappas, who is a respected lawyer? Former coaches Michael Maguire, Anthony Seibold and, now, Bennett?

And what of co-owner and father figure Russell Crowe, to whom Phoebe Burgess alleges she sent text messages after her husband went missing for two days after Souths lost the 2018 preliminary final to the Roosters.

It's not commonly known that Crowe and Burgess have barely spoken for months after a falling-out last year when Burgess blasted the NRL judiciary as a "kangaroo court" following a string of on-field indiscretions.

It is a far cry from the jubilant scenes of the pair hugging each other after Burgess led Souths to victory in the 2014 grand final against the Bulldogs.

It's even further from the glamorous early days of the couple's courtship, when they graced the red carpets at Dally Ms and corporate suites at the races in style.

Roosters' angry demand amid Burgess scandal

  Roosters' angry demand amid Burgess scandal The Sydney Roosters are angry about their player, Billy Smith, being dragged into the Sam Burgess scandal.According to The Australian, Burgess believed that Smith knew a woman involved in an alleged sexting incident with the former South Sydney star and blamed him for leaking the story.

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This column's phone didn't stop ringing on Friday but no calls were returned by some of the people we most wanted to hear from. Crowe did not respond to the Herald's emails and South Sydney only issued a banal statement late on Friday. Burgess declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

Those close to him say he is shattered by the claims he crushed his heavily pregnant wife while on a drug-fuelled bender in November 2018 that only stopped after Souths doctor Andrew McDonald injected him with liquid Valium.

The Burgess camp considers the story an attempt to stop him ever seeing his children again.

One of the authors of the 3000-word story, Walkley Award-winning journalist Sharri Markson, was once Phoebe Burgess' editor at Cleo magazine.

But recent legal wranglings between Burgess, his ex-wife and her father, Mitchell Hooke, reveal the hostilities between the parties are increasing.

Phoebe Hooke is understood to have made a lengthy statement to police on Wednesday. The dossier is said to be so large, and containing so many allegations of criminal behaviour involving several people, it was handed to detectives at the force's State Crime Command.

And next month, on November 16, Burgess will appear in Moss Vale local court to face charges of intimidation involving a run-in with Mitchell Hooke in the Southern Highlands in October last year. Burgess has already pleaded not guilty to those charges.

The matriarch supporting Sam Burgess through the fight of his life

  The matriarch supporting Sam Burgess through the fight of his life With the hood of her grey jumper over her head and sunglasses hiding her face, Julie Burgess did not look like someone you want to mess with as she emerged from crisis talks with embattled son Sam.Standing at over 190cm tall, the matriarch of rugby league's most famous family has a reputation - much like her four sons - for being a fierce competitor and is unashamedly defensive of her boys.

While people will sit in judgment about the whole affair, the full details may never come to light.

Former head of football Shane Richardson, though, was adamant he had no knowledge of the domestic violence claims, nor that McDonald had seen Burgess - let alone injected him with a heavy sedative.

He also denied any knowledge of the misuse of prescription drugs, which was also claimed in the story.

"I have no knowledge whatsoever of the incident and the doctor at no stage told me about that incident ??? that's fact," Richardson said.

Like Crowe, Richardson fell out with Burgess following the judiciary blow-up. He was one of the few people at Souths who dared take on Burgess and they butted heads regularly.

It was also Richardson who convinced the NRL to accept Souths' evidence that Burgess had to be medically retired at the end of last season because of a serious shoulder injury.

The club didn't just receive much-needed salary cap relief but also paid Burgess the $3 million still owing under his contract.

The enormous payout saw Richardson fall out with Pappas, who was angry about how it damaged Souths' bottom line.

As fingers were pointed all over town on Friday, the question was asked: if Souths had so much dirt on their captain, wouldn't they just destroy the contract and not pay a cent?

The counterargument is they were complicit in his behaviour, turning a blind eye and therefore enabling it.

They are questions ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys and the NRL integrity unit must answer in time. Rugby league clubs have rarely taken responsibility for the men they create.

As for the rest, they are matters for the courts, where we will be seeing a lot more of rugby league's former glamour couple.

Inside Phoebe Burgess' lavish life as her split from Sam gets messier .
Her marriage to retired NRL star Sam Burgess may be in tatters, but that hasn't stopped Phoebe Burgess (née Hooke) from living the WAG lifestyle. Since splitting from the Rabbitohs captain-turned-assistant coach in October last year, Phoebe has fashioned herself into one of Australia's most glamorous single mothers. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

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This is interesting!