NRL news: Sam Burgess drugs arrest, Integrity Unit, South Sydney Rabbitohs update

Sam Burgess is fighting for his career.

The Rabbitohs great on Thursday night declared he is “clean and sober from drugs” after he was arrested for allegedly failing a roadside drug test.

The Rabbitohs on Friday said the club contacted the NRL Integrity Unit.

The league has now confirmed the Integrity Unit is aware of the alleged incident.

The 34-year-old was pulled over while driving a BMW X5 in Kingsford in Sydney on Thursday morning.

Burgess allegedly returned a positive result for cocaine, however he later issued a statement on social media denying he had taken drugs.

The Rabbitohs premiership-winning legend was also allegedly driving with a suspended licence.

Burgess was earlier this year appointed to an assistant coaching role with the team.

However, his career is again on thin ice following a long-history of off-field scandals since a chronic shoulder injury prompted his premature retirement in 2019.

He was in March fined $30,000 for using illicit drugs and threatening another player during the 2018 NRL season, and driving with traces of cocaine in his system in February 2021 while working at the Rabbitohs in an off-field role.

The NRL also suspended him from official duties with South Sydney for 12 weeks.

Burgess pleaded guilty to drug driving last year after he was pulled over on his way to visit his children in Bowral and tested positive for cocaine.

He was handed a nine-month good behaviour bond. He was also handed a breach notice by the NRL at the time.

He said in March the $30,000 punishment was “grossly unfair”.

It was announced afterwards that he would not return to the Rabbitohs for the rest of the 2022 season and instead made the surprise jump to coaching the Orara Valley Axemen in the Group 2 competition on NSW’s mid north coast.

Despite his turbulent 12 months, Burgess was an in-demand coach and had both the Rabbitohs and Dolphins chasing his signature before he ultimately decided to return to the Bunnies.

He has said publicly that he wants to pursue a career as an NRL head coach in coming years.

His future remains unclear after his alleged latest incident, but he taken immediate moves to deny allegations of having drugs in his system at the time of his arrest.

“An initial roadside drug test was taken, which showed positive to cocaine,” Burgess wrote.

“A court date was issued for driving with a suspended licence.

“After I was released from the police station, I immediately and voluntarily went to an independent, internationally accredited testing facility and undertook a urine test. The urine sample returned a negative result to all illicit drugs.

“I deny any suggestion that I have drugs in my system. I have not consumed, obtained, or possessed any illicit drugs.

“I have made positive improvements to my life and to my driving since my full licence was returned to me following a 10-month loss of licence. I have undertaken road safety courses and since then I have not incurred any demerit points or fines. I am clean and sober from drugs, living a happy, healthy and balanced life.”

Burgess was taken to Maroubra Police Station, where he was charged with driving while suspended.

“Inquiries are continuing and police will await the result of a secondary oral fluid analysis,” a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

Burgess’ lawyer, Bryan Wrench, told The Daily Telegraph his client denies taking any drugs.

“He completely denies any suggestion that he was involved with any illicit drugs and we have obtained a urine sample from an internationally-accredited laboratory confirming that he has not consumed any illicit drugs,” Mr Wrench said.

Burgess will face court on February 15.

Brit Burgess celebrated his 34th birthday last week.

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