Burgess’ shoulder gave him the most pain of his life
Rabbitohs legend Sam Burgess says the shoulder injury that ended his rugby league career was so painful that his 2014 Grand Final heroics don't even compare.
Burgess will go down in rugby league folklore for playing the entire 2014 decider with a fractured eye socket and cheekbone from an early head clash with James Graham.
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However the chronic shoulder injury and subsequent infection that forced him to retire after the 2019 season was by far the worst pain he has felt in rugby league.
Burgess revealed to The Sydney Morning Herald that he kept the severity of his injury from teammates and coach Wayne Bennett as he pushed for another Rabbitohs' premiership.
"I didn't speak to him (Bennett) about anything until the season finished,'' Burgess said at the Fox League launch at the SCG on Tuesday.
"He didn't know. Only me and the surgeon knew. There was no point everyone else knowing. They'd only get depressed, so I didn't want that.
"I was told [by the surgeon] mid-year to retire, but I couldn't take that. I said a few expletives. I didn't believe him. I said, 'Let me at least see what I can do'.
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"I had to see what it was like. I came back and played about six or eight games, but I knew. I couldn't play. My worst nightmare or fear was letting people down and I was doing that. I was in pain constantly.
"We played Parramatta around Origin time, and that game I've never been in as much pain in my life. Honestly, it was the hardest injury I've ever had to manage.''
Burgess retired with 182 games for the Rabbitohs, 88 for Bradford and 24 Tests for England and Great Britain.
By many experts' estimations he will go down as one of the toughest to have ever played the game.