By Kristy Johnson For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 03:26 GMT, 1 November 2019 | Updated: 03:26 GMT, 1 November 2019
South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess has been forced into early retirement due to a chronic shoulder injury.
And speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, Russell Crowe, who co-owns the NRL club, described the 30-year-old Yorkshireman as a 'hero'.
The Gladiator actor, 55, referenced Sam's ability to break the Rabbitohs' premiership drought, adding: 'He achieved that in circumstances that left the rugby league world in awe.'
'A hero who left us in awe': Russell Crowe (left), 55, paid tribute to NRL star Sam Burgess (right), 30, on Thursday, amid his early retirement, marriage breakdown and AVO drama
'Week in week out during the entire time he has been with the Rabbitohs, Sam has led by example and instilled belief in the players around him,' Russell began.
'When I talked to Sam as a young 20-year-old itching to make his mark in the NRL, we agreed he was coming to Australia with one mission: To help break South Sydney's premiership drought.
'He achieved that in circumstances that left the rugby league in awe.'
Praise: Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Russell, who co-owns the South Sydney Rabbitohs, said Sam 'has led by example and instilled belief in the players around him'