Tuesday clickbait writers got dirty when Burgess made his first "public appearance" (in other words, he went to Redfern's Oval training) from his separation with his wife.
"Burgess seemed knocked down while charging on the field and huddled with Bennett – he himself is no stranger to a relationship that is falling apart in the full light of the media spotlight" panted The Daily Mail . "Bennett and his wife Trish interrupted their 42-year relationship in 2016 … Burgess, 30, appeared focused as he circled the oval in the sun, completely ignoring the media."
Downcast? Focused? Focused on being downcast? I am so confused.
According to the real people in the club, Burgess's attitude was the same as when owner owner Russell Crowe convinced him in 2010 to move from England to Redfern. There was no indication that his personal life was weighing on him, just as he never reflects the way he trains or the way he played his 163 games for Souths.
Burgess is one of those players who can compartmentalize life, footy and recreation. When it comes to footy, it is stubborn, resolute and usually angry, sometimes too much and sometimes ends up in suspension.
During the finals of last season, he was investigated following allegations of misconduct. The investigation subsequently canceled all players from any violation of their NRL contracts. Burgess refused to offer coach Anthony Seibold to sit down suddenly against the death of the Dragons, he did not sleep the night before the match, he came out in the first half and made some mistakes before to make some critical runs and offload in the second while Souths scraped home.
If ever, chaos away from the field brings Burgess's performance to another level.
During the 2014 season, he was the most annoying player in the NRL. In February, he had amazed the game when he announced he was changing the codes to join the Rugby Union Bath in order to play for England in the World Cup the following year.
At the moment, he offered mundane comments about "loving his time at Souths", but he is "very excited about future challenges". There were rumors that he was not happy with media control in Sydney and / or certain people in his club.
In any case, it was clear that Burgess had a greater amount of shit. So also his teammate and roommate Ben Te & # 39; o, who was also changing the codes to join Leinster based in Dublin. You either had gone through the wringer after a woman from Brisbane had accused her of having beaten her. He was never arrested or charged and was eventually cleared of any police and NRL wrongdoing – but that did not stop opposition supporters from mocking him.
Throughout the season, Burgess and Te & # 39; o refused any media request placed on them, repeatedly saying "Companion, I just want to play".
And they did it. The Souths won their first premiership in 43 years with Te & # 39; or the second best player in the grand final behind Burgess, who won the Clive Churchill Medal with one eye closed due to a broken cheekbone in the first tackle of the game.
Many players find the field as their happy place.
The former Newcastle prostitute Danny Buderus tells a story of 2006, when he shared a car with Canberra with the halfback Andrew Johns. When Johns picked up his house in Newcastle, he found a man struggling with personal demons and perhaps with some ninjas.
That afternoon Buderus looked in amazement at half as silly as Johns scored 30 points against the Raiders.
"I saw Joey enter the field with real demon things, and he went away and was blinders," said Buderus in an interview with Herald in 2008. "He stopped all day against Canberra: I learned that, regardless of what happens outside the rectangle of the field, once you pass over the chalk it does not matter anything else."
Some players can close the world, some do not. Mitchell Pearce's field performance directly reflects what is happening Talk to any coach, soccer director or CEO and they will tell you that they often have to play the role of father, mentor, psychologist, teacher and legal counsel.
It is too simplistic to say that teams win competitions when players are huddled on the lounge every night, sipping green tea, reading Art Tong Art of War or listening to the last podcast of Oprah.
They are young and gross and stupid and have very important lives to lead Instagram.
The teams that get the job are those with senior players who can block the noise of life under the watchful eye of a coach who understands what they are going through.
In this regard, Burgess and Bennett – and Souths – are a formidable combination.
Andrew Webster is the Sydney Morning Herald's Chief Sports Writer.