Housemates Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o are relishing the next week of preparations for South Sydney’s first NRL final in 43 years.
Undecided about his future and not particularly enjoying life away from Brisbane, South Sydney back-rower Ben Te’o was doing it tough earlier this year – so Sam Burgess offered him his spare room.
The Queensland representative back-rower had arguably his best game in a Rabbitohs jersey on Friday as the foundation club ended a 43-year wait to book a place in the grand final with a 32-22 preliminary final win over Sydney Roosters.
The 27-year-old scored the go-ahead try after halftime with a bulldozing run and the manic celebration that followed was a release of pent-up frustration following a difficult 12 months.
Te’o, who will join Irish rugby side Leinster in two weeks’ time, spoke earlier this year about his disillusionment with the game after being regularly sledged by opposing fans at games and on social media following allegations last year that he punched a woman.
He’d already been cleared of any wrongdoing by Queensland police and the NRL integrity unit but mud sticks and after copping a mouthful of abuse from St George Illawarra fans during a Monday night game at ANZ Stadium he made the difficult decision to walk away from the NRL at the end of the season.
Sensing his teammate hadn’t been himself, Burgess, who also moves to rugby in England with Bath after next week’s Big Dance, offered him a place to stay for a few nights and three months later Te’o is still there.
“I didn’t have anywhere to live at the time and he just said ‘do you want my spare room?’,” Te’o said.
“It’s been good, because we’re both leaving I decided to move in with him and once the season’s done we both jet out.
“He’s a great housemate, we’ve learned a lot from each other. We talk about a lot of things.
“It’s been good to get to know him really well before we go our separate ways.”
Both Burgess and Te’o claim they are doing their best not to focus on their impending moves to a new code and the Kiwi-born back-rower revealed their attempts to discuss the 15-man game at home had been somewhat brief.
“We’ve talked a bit about rugby,” he said.
“But neither of us don’t really know what we’re talking about so they are not very constructive conversations.”
Burgess said Te’o had been the difference against the Roosters after coming off the bench and revealed he’d been like a coiled spring as he cooled his heels on the sidelines following a four-match suspension for a chicken wing tackle.
“He’s been anxiously waiting to come back, it’s good to have him back in the side,” Burgess said.
“It’s been great having him around the house, we have a great friendship.
“I am pretty pumped about sharing the next nine, 10 days with him leading up to the grand final. We will ride the wave together.
“I told the boys last night that I really wanted to play one last NRL game and they’ve helped me do that. I just hope now I can do my bit to go one better.”
“It’s going to be a great week.”