Fresh twist in case of Sam Burgess saga as former Rabbitohs teammate could be a key police witness after footy star’s ex-wife Phoebe Burgess called him during an incident at the couple’s home
- Sam Burgess’ ex-teammate Jason Clark could be a key witness into bombshell allegations levelled against him
- Clark was reportedly called to the Burgess mansion by his ex-wife Phoebe during an incident at home in 2018
- The well-respected South Sydney Rabbitohs veteran reportedly stayed at the home until the situation calmed
- Bombshell claims about Burgess’s personal life during his time at South Sydney were last week revealed
- The Burgess family gathered for a three-hour crisis talk at his apartment in Coogee, Sydney, on the weekend
- The 31-year-old Englishman stood down from his coaching role at South Sydney and Fox League job on Friday
- Burgess vehemently denies all allegations against him and pleaded not guilty to intimidating Phoebe’s dad
A former teammate of Sam Burgess will be questioned by police over Zoom this week from the UK, as they probe what he knew of bombshell allegations levelled against the NRL legend.
Jason Clark, a former South Sydney Rabbitohs teammate of Burgess’, could be a key witness in the police investigation into accusation about the superstar forward’s marriage and supposed excessive partying ways.
Clark was the person Phoebe Burgess turned to during an incident at their home in 2018, The Australian reported last week.
He will this week be interviewed by NSW Police over Zoom, as he is currently playing in the English Super League.
Clark will also be interviewed by the NRL integrity unit who are also investigating Burgess and South Sydney.
The rugby league veteran was reportedly a well-respected and much liked leader at South Sydney and will assist police in their enquiries, his manager Steve Gillis confirmed.
Sam Burgess’ (right) former NRL teammate will be a key witness in the investigations into bombshell allegations against him. Jason Clark was reportedly called by Phoebe Burgess (left) during an incident in 2019
Phoebe reportedly called Clark (pictured with his daughters) – a well respected South Sydney Rabbitohs veteran
NSW Police confirmed over the weekend they had launched Strike Force Irrabella to investigate allegations made in The Australian about Burgess and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The allegations related extensively to Burgess’ personal life and professional career.
Burgess and his legal team have made it clear they vehemently deny all allegations.
Among the major allegations were claims of an incident at the Burgess mansion in Maroubra, in Sydney’s east, in 2018 where the father-of-two was behaving erratically.
Clark attended the couple’s house along with Burgess’ mother Julie.
Evidence he gives to police will form a key part of the investigation into Burgess and South Sydney, as well as the team’s medical staff.
NSW Police detectives have reportedly already interviewed Phoebe and visited several key locations, including an underground carpark where Burgess allegedly received medical treatment.
A pharmacy linked to the club’s doctor Andrew McDonald has also reportedly been visited by police.
Burgess has been holed up at his home in Coogee since the allegations were published.
He stood down from his off-field coaching role with the club and commentary role with Fox League has been left ‘devastated’ by the accusations against him, a close friend told The Daily Telegraph.
‘He is angry and feels like he doesn’t have a voice,’ the friend said.
A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess (The former couple are pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018)
The Burgess family gathered for crisis talks in Sydney over the weekend after bombshell allegations about Sam’s marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report (Burgess’s mother Julie is pictured leaving the discussions in a grey hoodie, followed by Burgess’ lawyer Bryan Wrench)
The oldest of the four Burgess brothers Luke (pictured), met with the former NRL star at his apartment in Coogee, in the city’s eastern suburbs, on Saturday
‘[The allegations are] something that is abhorrent to him, which makes it all the more harder to stomach.’
In addition to the NSW Police probe, the NRL’s integrity unit has also commenced an investigation.
South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly was spoke to league officials at length on Friday.
Following the extensive allegations made by the Australian against several high-profile members of the club, Mr Solly said he knew nothing of them until being contacted by journalists.
On Sunday morning, club coach Wayne Bennett also said he had only just become aware of the accusations.
‘I’ve been here since 2018 and I knew nothing about it until I’d been told in the last 24 hours,’ Bennett said.
‘I have never had a player or any staff member talk to me about it in any shape or form.
‘They are allegations. When we get all the facts together and see this at the end of the day, we will take another position on it and make another statement.’
Ms Burgess remains with her family in Bowral, caring for the two young children she shares with Burgess.
Her manager Sharon Finnigan said: ‘Phoebe is trying to get by and manage and care for her two children… She is doing her best as a single mother.’
Burgess and Phoebe (pictured) together have two children, Poppy and Billy. They separated just weeks after Billy’s birth
The footballer’s mother, who moved relocated to Australia to be with her English-born sons, wore a large grey hoodie over black leggings
Meanwhile in Coogee, Burgess’ mother Julie and brother Luke met with the former NRL star on Saturday.
They were joined by Bryan Wrench, a star criminal lawyer who is defending Burgess in current domestic violence and restraining order proceedings involving him and Phoebe’s father – Mitchell Hooke.
Police took out an apprehended violence order (AVO) against Burgess to protect Mr Hooke after an incident at the Hooke family’s sprawling property in Glenquarry, in the NSW Southern Highlands, on October 19.
Burgess was charged with domestic violence-related intimidation. He has pleaded not guilty.
In the wake of the initial article on Friday, more bombshell claims about the English-born NRL star came to light.
They included Julie Burgess – known in rugby league circles as ‘Mrs B’ – being required to pull Sam and her oldest son Luke away from a swanky Sydney hotel where they were staying after a big night out.
Burgess and Luke had been partying at The Establishment, in Sydney’s CBD, on November 5, 2018, after a farewell BBQ for their then-Souths teammate Jason Clark.
The 31-year-old (pictured) stood down from his coaching role at the NRL club on Friday after serious allegations about his marriage and wild lifestyle were published by The Australian
Julie and Luke were joined by lawyer Bryan Wrench (pictured) to meet with the NRL star in Coogee for talks on Saturday
Julie and Luke walk with lawyer Bryan Wrench walk through a car park in Coogee in Sydney’s eastern suburbs
Burgess’ wife Phoebe was reportedly heavily pregnant and at home while her husband celebrated over the course of the day.
According to the report, Phoebe called Mrs Burgess and asked her to retrieve her husband.
Julie quizzed hotel staff for the number of her son’s hotel room and after close an hour trying was able to convince them to leave, the report claims.
‘Julie virtually had to drag Sam and Luke to her car by their ears, but somehow she got them out of that room and into her car,’ a source claimed.
The Australian article – which first published extensive bombshell claims – included text messages Burgess’ ex-wife Phoebe allegedly sent to Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, who owns the NRL club, discussing a change in her then-husband’s demeanor.
Staff members at South Sydney Rabbitohs have also been accused of ignoring Burgess’ alleged indiscretions.
Sam Burgess’ mum Julie (left) reportedly had to drag the NRL star home following one partying incident in Sydney’s CBD in 2018
Serious allegations about Sam Burgess’ marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. He is pictured with ex-wife Phoebe
Explosive claims about the 31-year-old former Rabbitohs player’s wild lifestyle were published on Thursday by The Australian (The former NRL star is pictured in Mexico in October 2019)
Burgess has strongly denied all allegations published in The Australian.
‘The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client,’ Burgess’ media lawyer Mark O’Brien said.
The newspaper claims to have uncovered text messages between Phoebe and Crowe from November 2018.
‘I thought we had the world at our feet together,’ Phoebe allegedly wrote to the actor.
‘He might need a good friend because he is just not our Sam.’
The article also included text messages Burgess allegedly sent to Phoebe, after her initial conversation came to light.
‘Phoebe why did you message RC saying everything,’ Burgess allegedly wrote. ‘What are you trying to solve here?’
The investigation by the newspaper also claims to have uncovered text messages between Phoebe and Russell Crowe – who owns the NRL club
Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son, Billy. Their divorce after four years of marriage was finalised in April. They also have a daughter, Poppy
‘I thought we had the world at our feet together,’ Phoebe allegedly wrote to Russell Crowe about Sam Burgess
The article also included text messages Burgess allegedly sent to Phoebe, after her initial conversation with the Hollywood actor came to light
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the league has launched an investigation into the claims but they will not take action based off allegations.
‘The action we have taken is to initiate the investigation,’ he said on Friday.
‘Because these are allegations, we don’t have the facts before us, we’re not going to be taking any further action until we have the information needed to do that.
‘However, I believe that Sam Burgess has stood himself down from South Sydney Rabbitohs duties this weekend.
‘And I also believe that he has stood down from Fox Sports as well.’
Mr Abdo said the claims against Burgess are ‘very serious allegations’.
‘We will look to work with the club to find out what happened and to get to the bottom of the facts.
‘We will also cooperate with the NSW Police, who have also begun an investigation into the matter.
In the wake of the allegations, the 31-year-old stood down from his roles as Rabbitohs coaching assistant and Fox Sports commentator. Burgess is pictured in August
The former NRL star is seen carrying a woman on his shoulders during a party in Mexico in 2019
‘If these allegations are proven, we will take the strongest possible action that we can.’
Since his retirement in October 2019, Burgess has been a coach at former club South Sydney Rabbitohs
Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son, Billy.
Their divorce after four years of marriage was finalised in April.
They also have an older daughter, Poppy.
Burgess was 21 years old when he joined the Rabbitohs in 2010.
In two stints between 2008 and 2019 he played rugby league for England, including at the 2017 World Cup, and in 2007 represented Great Britain.
Burgess was lured to rugby union in 2014 and joined Bath in England.
In 2015, he was whisked into Stuart Lancaster’s ill-fated World Cup squad just nine months after his union debut. England failed to get beyond the pool stage of their home tournament.
After they crashed out, Burgess quit union and tore up his contract with Bath, returning to Australia and the NRL.
He was medically retired last October after a spate of injuries, but stayed at the Rabbitohs where he has been working as a development coach with the squad.
Burgess will next face court in November over the domestic violence charges and AVO.