Former South Syndey star Sam Burgess has been handed a $30,000 fine and a 12-week suspension following a number of breaches of the NRL's rules.
The breaches fell within Burgress' time as both a player and official with the Rabbitohs, with the Englishman having returned to Redfern as a member of their coaching staff after calling time on his career in 2019 due to injury.
A string of indiscretions across Burgess' final years with South Sydney have resulted in the 33-year-old being handed down punishments from the NRL, however the 12-week suspension will be backdated, permitting Burgess to continue any duties with the club.
Burgess was sanctioned for illicit drug use, his infamous threatening incident involving Roosters player Billy Smith, and driving under the influence of illicit drugs, all falling between 2018 and 2021.
"The NRL’s investigation follows the conclusion of NSW Police Strike Force Irrabella in late 2021. Like Strike Force Irrabella, the NRL did not find the available evidence was sufficient to support allegations that Burgess had engaged in domestic violence. A number of allegations concerning Burgess’ personal relationships did not relate to the NRL’s rules," an NRL statement reads.
"The NRL has also concluded that the available evidence did not support a finding that there was a cover-up by the club of the use by Burgess of illicit drugs, prescription drugs or that it engaged in a practice of covering up allegations of domestic violence.
"In particular, the investigation found that the treatment the club doctor provided Burgess in his home following a medical incident, was given in the doctor’s private capacity - not in his role as club doctor. Consistent with the doctor’s obligation of patient confidentiality, the Club was not informed of the medical incident or the treatment provided."
The Rabbitohs have also been fined $20,000 after failing to alert the NRL Integrity Unit of an indiscretion involving Burgess that was made aware to the club from a member of the public.
The Rabbitohs released a statement shortly after the NRL handed down sanctions to the club and Burgess this week.
"The South Sydney Rabbitohs acknowledge receipt of a breach notice from the NRL for breaching its rules pertaining to the lack of a prompt reporting to the NRL Integrity and Compliance Unit, an allegation from a member of the public immediately upon becoming aware it could have been reasonably suspected to be a potential breach of the NRL Rules," the Rabbitohs' statement reads.
"The Rabbitohs responded to the breach notice at the time and now accepts the fine that has been imposed.
"The Rabbitohs wish to reiterate that there is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women. The Club also takes issues of drug use very seriously and has established policies and procedures in place around the use of drugs. The Club works closely with the playing group to support their wellbeing and educate them about drug use, and also works closely with Sport Integrity Australia and the NRL who administer testing of the players.
"The Rabbitohs now consider this matter to be closed and will be making no further comment at this time."
Burgess last played for the Rabbitohs in 2019, totalling 182 matches in the cardinal and myrtle across two stints with the club where he won the 2014 NRL Grand Final and Clive Churchill Medal.