Julie Burgess might be the matriarch of the family but when bombshell allegations about Sam’s marriage and lifestyle surfaced last week it was older brother Luke, who he turned to first.
The Burgess boys call their oldest brother ‘Biffa’. And for good reason – he’s the one they lean on when things go wrong or get a little bit loose.
Luke is the father-figure, and fixer – which is no surprise given he’s nicknamed after Biffa Bacon, a cult figure from British comic Viz who’s known for fighting anyone at the drop of a hat.
The Burgess family dynamic has been that way ever since the boys watched their father die after a long and harrowing battle with motor neurone disease in 2007.
And so there Luke was, alongside mum Julie and celebrity lawyer Bryan Wrench, last Saturday for long crisis talks after bombshell allegations about Sam’s marriage and lifestyle were made public in The Australian newspaper.
When the bombshell allegations about Sam Burgess’ marriage and lifestyle surfaced last week it was older brother Luke who he turned to first, having seen him as a father figure since losing his dad to motor neurone disease in 2007
The two oldest Burgess brothers have an incredibly close bond and are currently housemates at a Coogee apartment. Sam (left) is a father-of-two while Luke (right) has a young daughter to his model ex-girlfriend Yolanda Hodgson
Luke Burgess wheels his scooter into the garage of the Coogee apartment he shares with his embattled younger brother Sam on Tuesday afternoon
Bombshell allegations relating to wild partying and his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe (left) were published in The Australian last week (The former couple are pictured together in 2018)
Sam and Luke have been living together in a Coogee apartment since Sam’s playing career ended several months ago, so when the shock allegations landed the former Souths enforcer sat down and his brother sat and discussed all options together.
By that afternoon, the most famous Englishman to ever play in the NRL – and one of the game’s toughest and most inspirational leaders ever – had stepped down from his role as a development coach with South Sydney and his coveted media job with Fox Sports.
But it is understood club officials had to convince Sam this was the right call, as Luke was fiercely adamant he should not stand down.
Despite that show of strength and a reputation for mounting a fierce defence of their loved ones, the Burgess camp has maintained a stony silence since the news broke.
Despite a reputation for mounting a fierce defense of their loved ones, there has been silence out of the Burgess camp so far with Luke refusing to answer questions when approached this week
Mark Burgess died in 2007 after a long battle with motor neurone disease, leaving behind his wife Julie and their four boys (pictured)
Mark Burgess (pictured) was made an honorary life member of the South Sydney Rabbitohs by owner Russell Crowe
Instead, they allowed lawyer Bryan Wrench to vent the family’s frustrations in Moss Vale Local Court on Wednesday, accusing ex-wife Phoebe and her well-connected father Mitchell Hooke of leaking private documents to the media.
Mr Wrench also warned there could be further action ahead if the pair are found to be in contempt of court.
Luke remained tight-lipped when he was asked to comment on the matter this week.
But Mr Wrench said Phoebe Burgess had made a 50-page statement to police about her ex-husband which had never been seen by him, yet appeared in The Australian.
‘To be quite blunt, it appears that this is born out of either malice or retaliation,’ Mr Wrench told the court.
Sam is facing charges of assaulting his ex-wife Phoebe’s dad Mitch Hooke, while an apprehended violence order (AVO) taken out by police is also still in place.
The charges and AVO relate to an incident at Mr Hooke at his sprawling property in the NSW Southern Highlands last year.
Luke and Julie Burgess gathered for crisis talks with Sam in Coogee over the weekend after the allegations were published
Also present at the meeting was Burgess’ criminal lawyer Bryan Wrench (pictured back, behind a hooded Mrs Burgess)
Sam and Phoebe split up in late 2018, with the football star pictured arriving at the pair’s home in Marboubra, in Sydney’s east, on January 2, 2019
The former footballer has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and also denies all allegations published in The Australian.
Scrutiny has been intense since the story broke, with the four brothers forced to turn off comments on the Instagram page for their clothing brand ‘4B’ due to abuse from trolls.
But adversity is nothing knew to the Burgess clan.
Sam led the arrivals to Australia in 2010, quickly establishing himself as a star for the Rabbitohs and paving the way for his brothers to join him.
By the beginning of 2012 all of Luke, Tom and George were also in red and green.
With her boys now all on the opposite side of the world, Julie Burgess also packed up and moved to Australia.
The towering footballer went inside before emerging a short time later with several bags filled with his belongings
Julie Burgess is surrounded by her four boys George, Sam, Luke and Tom
Sam is currently facing charges of domestic violence against Phoebe’s father Mitch Hooke (left), which he has pleaded not guilty to
It was no surprise considering how inseparable the pair have been in recent months.
In the wake of Sam’s forced medical retirement the pair headed to Mexico, partying on yachts and nightclubs.
The pair have been known to enjoy doing the same at home in Sydney.
After one widely reported night on the town with former teammate Jason Clark back in 2018, Luke and Sam partied into the early hours at swanky hotel Establishment.
When Sam had not arrived home by the next morning, wife Phoebe called his mum.
A former deputy headmaster and fierce protector of her boys, Mrs Burgess stormed into The Establishment and demanded hotel concierge tell her where her sons are.
Unsurprisingly, she got her way.
After an hour of talking to her sons she convinced them to leave and piled them into her Hyundai Veloster, taking them both back to Sam’s mansion in Maroubra.
Once inside Luke – known to his brothers as Biffa – reportedly unleashed on Phoebe.
Sam and Phoebe married in a lavish ceremony at her parents estate in the Southern Highlands in 2015
In the weeks after his separation from Phoebe, Sam was seen driving a car filled with bags that contained his belongings
The South Sydney Rabbitohs legend gets changed before a golf day at Bonnie Doon Golf Club
Burgess (right) rubbed shoulders with former NRL star Braith Anasta (centre) and Today Show presenter Tim Gilbert (far left) at the event
Hours later, Sam allegedly also began to act erratically.
While his now ex-wife and former teammate tried to calm him down, there was only one person Sam wanted to see.
‘Where’s Biffa? Get Biffa in the house,’ he said.
With their careers on the football field now behind them, Luke and Sam have moved into the world of fashion with their own clothing label ‘4B’.
Supported by their twin brothers Tom and George, the four boys are all co-owners in the sports leisure brand.
It is something to keep the boys busy as they face stricter scrutiny than ever before.
WHO ARE THE BURGESS FAMILY?
JULIE: A former high school deputy headmaster, the matriarch of the family is renowned for defending her four boys, always. She followed her sons to Australia in 2012 after they had established careers with South Sydney
MARK: The boys’ father died in 2007 at age 45 after a long battle with motor neurone disease. While their towering height comes from Julie, Mark is credited for giving the boys their brawn and toughness.
LUKE: The oldest of the four boys, he is known to his brothers as ‘Biffa’. Luke moved to Australia in 2011 to play for South Sydney. He began dating model Yolanda Hodgson and the couple have a daughter Grace, but split in 2019.
SAM: The first of the family to make the move to Sydney, he quickly became a key part of the Rabbitohs outfit. After a few years together he married Phoebe Hooke in 2015, before their public split in late 2018. They have two children, Poppy and Billy.
TOM: Tom and his twin brother George are the youngest members of the family. He was the last of the family to move to Australia in 2011. He is engaged to Tahlia Giumelli and the couple are currently expecting a second child.
GEORGE: The 28-year-old has returned to England to play in the Super League having married wife Joanna in 2016. The couple have three children under the age of three.
Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013