Family comes first, says Burgess

Luke Burgess said he made the decision to retire so he could move back to Australia and turn all his attention to his young daughter.

The 31-year-old played his last ever game on Thursday night as he helped Salford Red Devils secure their Super League status for 2019 with a 44-10 victory over Toulouse Olympique at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Burgess has confirmed that he will hang up his boots for good and move back to Australia to be closer to his family, with his three brothers all currently playing for South Sydney.

“It is a big decision because playing Rugby League is all I have ever known,” Burgess told League Express.

“I need to turn all my focus on my daughter now. She starts school in January and that will be in Australia, so I need to get back there and work out what happens moving forward.

“I wanted to finish playing at the top level, so I will be hanging up my boots for good now. My body doesn’t allow me to do what I used to do, and I don’t want to risk it. I’ve done some cool things in Rugby League and it has given me a great start to life, so I appreciate that.

“I came through at the (Leeds) Rhinos and I tasted success at a young age. We won the Grand Final in 2008, which was my first proper year with the club, and then we won it again in 2009. I’ve played a lot of games in the NRL, I’ve had the chance to play in the same team as all of my brothers. I joined up with the England squad in 2012 and I am proud to have done some good things in the sport. I am lucky to have had the career that I’ve had.”

Salford’s victory over Toulouse in The Qualifiers on Thursday confirmed that they will remain a Super League club next year.

And Burgess, who has played 23 games in two stints at Salford, thinks the Red Devils deserve to be in the top-flight.

“Salford definitely belong in Super League,” he added.

“They are a strong side and this year has been a little bit disappointing, but I’m so happy to help the club secure Super League status for next year and hopefully it can build on that and move forward.

“The boys made it a pretty special week for me because it was my last and it was cool for them to clap me off the field.

“I had a good time here in 2016 and I have made some great friends. I was really excited to come back here this year, but unfortunately not a lot of things have gone our way. But we have secured Super League for next year and that is the main thing for the club.”