Fears surround Burgess’ long-term playing future
There are fears about the long-term health of Sam Burgess' debilitating shoulder after the South Sydney star was ruled out of Great Britain's end of season tour.
Burgess has been plagued by an ongoing shoulder issue throughout the season and was severely hampered by it in the Rabbitohs final loss of the season against Canberra.
There are now suggestions the arthritic shoulder has deteriorated so quickly Burgess won't see out the remaining four years of his deal.
The injury is not expected to need an operation instead Rabbitohs officials are hopeful the off-season rest will enable the injury to settle down.
If the situation does not improve then there could be ramifications for Burgess' immediate playing future.
Burgess played 19 games for the Rabbitohs this year in a season marred by injury and suspension.
He never quite reached the same impact he has had in recent years. Burgess had minor shoulder surgery during the season but spent seven matches on the sideline because of an infection.
Younger brother Tom said it was a tough but the right decision for Sam to skip Great Britain's Test series against Tonga and New Zealand in New Zealand and PNG in Port Moresby.
"He has an ongoing shoulder which he has had this year," Burgess said.
"He couldn't justify playing. If you're missing a fair amount of games through the year you have to look at these games and make a smart decision.
"I missed seven so I had to make a call if I was going to play. My body is feeling good now. It doesn't take long for the body to recuperate."
Sam's injury and George's poor form means Tom will be the only Burgess to represent England or Great Britain this year.
Despite his hulking frame, Tom has been picked in England's World Cup Nines squad to play at Bankwest Stadium next week.
Burgess was at first a little hesitant when his club coach Wayne Bennett asked him to play.
"At first I was a bit like 'are you sure," Burgess said.
"But I told him if you want me to play I'll play. Any chance I get to wear the England jersey I'll take it.
"It is exciting speaking about it and seeing there is a bit of a buzz. It's great to be part of it.
"It does feel a little bit more relaxed because there isn't as much pressure on teams.
"You have to run hard and get your body in front in defence. Off-loads will be on because there will be a lot of space around.
"You get that momentum going and then give it to the speedsters to show their magic."
Meanwhile, the Kiwis have named a strong nines squad with the likes of Dylan Brown, Briton Nikora, Jordan Rapana, Bailey Simonsson and Reimis Smith all featuring. The fleet-footed Shaun Johnson will also play for New Zealand.
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