It's the first day of the 2020 NRL finals, but all the headlines about the league are focused on something else entirely.
Well, more specifically, someone.
Sam Burgess, a recently retired South Sydney Rabbitohs star, is under investigation by the NRL and NSW Police over allegations of misconduct and domestic violence following a damning report by The Australian newspaper.
The publication has alleged that Burgess, 31, engaged in "destructive" off-field behaviour, which South Sydney then went to great lengths to keep from becoming public.
Burgess' lawyer told The Australian the claims are "false".
The NRL's response.
In a statement, NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the league's Integrity Unit would speak with South Sydney officials today.
"These allegations are very serious and I’ve instructed the Integrity Unit to investigate the claims as a priority. We will also seek the advice of police and other relevant authorities throughout this process," he said.
"This is new information for the NRL and it is important we now gather the facts. The allegations have not yet been tested and due process will be followed as we undertake a thorough investigation.
"There is no place in our game for violence, harassment or abuse against women. If anyone is found guilty of these allegations we will take the strongest possible action."
A NSW Police Spokesperson told Mamamia, "On Wednesday 30th September, officers from the Hume Police District received a report outlining various allegations relating to the conduct of a 31-year-old man.
"Police have commenced inquiries, however as these inquiries are in their infancy there will be no further comment made at this time."
Burgess has stood down from his role as a Rabbitohs development coach following news of the investigations, a move that's been welcomed by the club.
In a statement, South Sydney said it would cooperate fully with the Integrity Unit's investigation.
Rabbitohs Statement Regarding Report in Today’s The Australian.— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) October 2, 2020
The allegations are very concerning and the Club is treating them with the utmost seriousness.
Full Statement 👉