Roomie backs Burgess Bunny revival
Former Rabbitoh James Roberts says Sam Burgess is the perfect person to lead South Sydney back to the top of the Telstra Premiership after it was confirmed the England international is returning to the NRL in 2016.
Weeks of speculation came to an end in the early hours of Friday morning when South Sydney confirmed that the 2014 Clive Churchill Medal winner had been released from the final two years of his contract with Bath rugby union to rejoin his brothers George and Tom at Redfern on a three-year deal.
The heart and soul of the Rabbitohs' title in 2014, the absence of Burgess compounded the team's premiership hangover this season and they were left to rely on superstar fullback Greg Inglis for inspiration.
Whether he is made captain or not will matter little to the attitude adjustment that will come purely from his presence and Roberts believes it is enough to take his former club back to the glory land.
"He's a real good leader and very professional," Roberts told NRL.com.
"He's obviously done wonders for the club down there and that's the reason they've brought him back and I'm sure he'll love being there again.
"It's a very good buy for them and if anyone is to get them back where they were and get them back into a grand final I think he's the man for the job."
As a string of off-field indiscretions mounted against him, South Sydney's last desperate attempt to get Roberts on the right path was to move him into Burgess's Waterloo apartment in 2012 but the arrangement lasted little more than three months before Roberts was sacked by the club as a 19-year-old.
Still just 22 years of age, Roberts said that while he may have not heeded the lessons while living under the same roof as Burgess he has applied them since joining the Titans two years ago.
"I just saw what it was like to be professional and I'm doing that now as I'm growing up. When I was a kid, I was nothing like what I am now," Roberts said.
"He was a pretty good cook too.
"He cooked a lot of nice meals and got me to training on time and tried to help me as much as possible when I was going through a tough time.
"He's a real good fella and a great leader."