SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs looks on prior to the round 12 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on May 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Wayne Bennett has downplayed reports that Sam Burgess will be forced into early retirement due his ongoing shoulder issues.

The Englishman has been hampered by the injury throughout 2019, leading to calls that he should hang up the boots despite still having four years to run on his deal.

He was forced to pull out of the England Nines side and Bennett’s Great Britain team.

Asked if Burgess would play on in 2020, Bennett declared: “Yes.”

“It’s bad enough for him not to be here and play,” the veteran coach told The Daily Telegraph. 

“He needs some work done on it and we will see where it goes from there.

“He had time off last year. He didn’t play (Tests) last year. He had a long time off this year. I don’t think he needs any more rest. It’s not the issue. The issue is the arm needs the rest, not Sam personally. He just needs some surgery on it.”

Burgess missed seven matches during the season after undergoing minor shoulder surgery that resulted in infection.

There were suggestions that he should travel to the US to explore radical surgery, a notion that Bennett denied.

“I don’t think there is anything new to be tried,” he said.

“It’s a matter of rehab, rest and a little bit more surgery.”

Bennett went on to praise the Nines tournament, stating that it should become a permanent fixture of the rugby league calendar.

“It’s a great idea,” Bennett said.

“Hopefully they do it on a regular basis. It’s good for all the nations to be here and giving some young guys opportunities.

“We have a history of getting out of things too quick. Hopefully we will stay with it and it will add something to the rugby league calendar.

“If you’re a football player at the end of the season and you’ve had a good season you still want to keep playing. I don’t think (player burnout) is an issue.

“Players have allocated time off now. Players want to play internationals. You shouldn’t deny them that opportunity.”


  1. At 31 Burgess is on borrowed time. If the shoulder is not going to get back to 100% then he is of little value to the red and Greens.

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