George Burgess says he "decided to go with the heart rather than the head" in knocking back a lucrative three-year offer from Parramatta to stay at South Sydney.
Burgess will back himself to earn a new Rabbitohs deal beyond 2019 after informing the Eels on Wednesday that their $1.8 million bid to prise him out of Redfern was unsuccessful.
A Souths statement then reiterated Burgess's status as a contracted Rabbitoh until the seasons' end, effectively a hands-off missive to NRL rivals regarding the English international.
Burgess was frank when pressed on his future on Thursday, admitting Parramatta's handsome offer had tempted him to cross town and line up against brothers Sam and Tom.
But while he holds no qualms about playing against on his siblings, Burgess's bond with the foundation club proved too strong to break – even with the extra security on offer in blue and gold.
"It was a hard decision; it was a good offer from the Eels," Burgess said.
"They're a great club. I definitely think they're a club that's on the up. But ultimately, South Sydney is where my heart is and it's a club that I've spent a lot of time at.
Burgess: I’m not leaving, that’s it
"I've played all my first-grade games here and to leave under those circumstances wasn't ideal for me. The timing just wasn't right and I decided to go with the heart rather than the head."
Having rediscovered some of his best form during the Rabbitohs' 2018 resurgence, the 26-year-old has a strong and influential backer in new coach Wayne Bennett.
Salary cap pressure is expected to force try-scoring winger Rob Jennings to the Tigers before the 2019 season kicks off.
Whether South Sydney can offer Burgess, who has two young kids and another on the way, a contract of similar size and length to Parramatta is the gamble in his decision to stay.
The 120kg prop had figures close to him advising him to move, and Burgess remains unsure if he would stay at Souths for less money than offered elsewhere in the future.
"You do get tough decisions in life but I've always thought you can't do everything for money," Burgess said.
"There's times when you do as well, but this wasn't one of those times. I just didn't want to leave at the drop of a hat.
"It wasn't the way I pictured to be leaving the club, that's ultimately what made the decision."
The past week has been drama aplenty in more ways than one for Burgess.
On Thursday night he will make his stage debut in Not So Enchanted, the latest step for the big Bunnies prop in the acting interest he's pursued since his school days.
Burgess will be leaving early from Saturday's testimonial game for John Sutton at Redfern Oval to take his place as a 'Prince Charming-type character' at Surry Hills' Tom Mann Theatre.
Bennett is a fan of Burgess's extra-curricular pursuits, while the man himself is a fan of fellow Englishman Tom Hardy, particularly his ability to play twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray in Legend.
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"I loved doing all the school plays when I was younger, but I didn't always have the courage to follow it through," Burgess said.
"Getting older, having kids, you just kind of lose your inhibitions a little bit and I thought why not give it a crack. I set it as a little bit of a new year's resolution to do more of that stuff this year.
"I did two auditions at the start of the year and got them both. So it's been going well so far, and it's something really good for me to do outside of football.
"Wayne's really big on the players having an interest outside of football and for me at this minute, it's that. So I'm enjoying it. It's distracting me from football".
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