South Sydney NRL stalwart John Sutton is delighted to welcome back one Burgess brother from a rival code, but fears one of the other siblings might ultimately be lost to another sport.
Sam Burgess, a huge factor in the club’s 2014 drought breaking NRL title win, has returned to the Rabbitohs burrow after a one-year stint in rugby union.
His younger brother and fellow forward Tom worked out last week with NFL teams New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.
The Rabbitohs were calm about the situation with the club saying Burgess has been given the opportunity to develop his skills by participating in NFL training during his off-season break.
Tom is still under contract to Souths, but Sam was in a similar position and was released to rugby union.
Although Sam played as a centre in England’s miserable World Cup campaign, his selection in the starting side for a crunch pool game against Wales attracted plenty of fire and he was unable to influence union games as he did in league.
With Souths sliding to seventh last year in a disappointing title defence, his return to the Rabbitohs ranks has been welcomed.
“He’s going to make a big difference,” long serving captain and utility Sutton told AAP.
“Just by the way he tackles. His runs inspire you to lift and it will be good to have him back out there.”
Tom hasn’t made quite the same impact as Sam but has played several Tests for England and appeared in almost all of the Rabbitohs’ games last year.
Asked if he feared losing Tom Burgess to the NFL, Sutton gave a little chuckle and said “we might, maybe in a couple more years.
“But it’s good to see him trying his hand at the NFL and having a go and he seems to be enjoying it, which is good.”
Sutton is looking for more consistency from Souths in 2016 after a dream few months in 2014-15 was followed by a disappointing second half of their NRL campaign.
After winning the 2014 title and the 2015 Nines and World Club Challenge, Souths lost their last four games of the NRL season after scoring an away win over ultimate champions North Queensland.
“We sort of fumbled our way through this year and it definitely wasn’t the way we wanted to go out, but everyone has had a good break,” Sutton said.
“We showed some brilliance in parts of games, but then went on some losing streaks and we need to be a lot more consistent throughout the year.”