Why NRL could drive Sam Burgess out of the game
I interviewed South Sydney champion Sam Burgess at Redfern Oval on Tuesday.
He was agitated, frustrated and unsettled.
Burgess' demeanour and body language suggested to me he was a player ready to walk away from rugby league.
During our 8min 32 sec interview, Burgess unloaded on the NRL. He repeatedly attempted to pull back, aware his comments would be controversial, but just couldn't stop himself.
Burgess is vulnerable at the moment, a player confused as his aggressive playing style has so quickly become outdated.
He was clearly angry at missing a qualifying final due to a hair pull. It's a indiscretion he says deserves punishment but not suspension.
I told Burgess he appeared to have "something on his chest". He said: "Yes, that's fair."
I honestly believe one more suspension for what many would deem a 'soft' indiscretion could push Burgess away from rugby league.
Maybe that came yesterday with the NRL calling Burgess in for a one-on-one meeting with CEO Todd Greenberg to explain his comments. Burgess may also be fined.
You only have to speak to Burgess to see he is aggrieved at the NRL. The angrier you get with your boss, the less prepared you are to change for them.
A true old-school forward, Burgess appears to be struggling to adapt to a game that been forced to become so politically correct.
And it would appear Burgess feels he shouldn't have to adapt.
I asked him whether he would change his style, Burgess said: "No, no. Why? It's me and that's been my career. I'm not going to change.
"I will play the way I play and if that's not good enough for the rules, then I will live with it. Maybe you should ask the game (NRL) a couple of questions. What do we all like seeing? I don't know. Ask the game a couple of questions."
Burgess still has four years remaining on his South Sydney deal worth around $1 million a year.
Once he calms down, Burgess will likely realise he cannot walk away from $4 million.
Yet, don't forget, he has already quit rugby league once. Right now, Burgess is defiant and resistant.
If forced to remodel his game at aged 30 by a changing game, big Sam may walk away again - this time for good.
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