Burgess set for long-run at centre

Willie Isa and Joe Burgess have both filled in at left centre this season
Willie Isa and Joe Burgess have both filled in at left centre this season

He is one of the best wingers in Super League, but Joe Burgess looks set for an extended run as a centre.

The 22-year-old returned from an injury lay-off last Friday in the centre role, allowing in-form Liam Marshall to continue on the left wing.

And – having been rested on Easter Monday – he is back in the mix for Sunday’s visit of Catalans, with Wane confirming he is likely to hang onto his new position until Oliver Gildart is fit-again this summer.

“Budgie will probably be at centre until Oli is back,” said Wane.

“I’ve no need to get him on the wing right now.

“He played well there against St Helens, and the more experience he gets there, the better he will get.

“I like players who can play different positions – I’m not a fan of pigeon-holing them into one position – and if Budgie can play centre and wing, the better it is for him and the better for us.”

Gildart started the season in great form but suffered a neck injury under a Brett Ferres crusher tackle in the 26-18 loss at Leeds last month, which is expected to keep him out until around June.

In his absence, Wane has used youngster Liam Forsyth and forward Willie Isa in the left centre role, as well as Burgess – who had his first outing there in the 20-0 win against Leigh.

But with Marshall doing such a fine job on the left wing – he has scored nine tries in seven outings – he believes they will benefit more from keeping the 20-year-old on the flank, with Burgess alongside him.

Burgess returned to Wigan this year after a season in the NRL with Sydney Roosters and Souths. He scored six tries in four matches before suffering a knee injury, returning for the Good Friday derby and scoring two tries against Saints.

Wane has also been impressed by the work Tom Davies has done on the right wing, which suggests Lewis Tierney may face a fight to get back into the team.

Scotland international Tierney – who earned a regular place in the side when Dom Manfredi suffered a long-term injury – is back in the mix after recovering from a knee problem.

Meanwhile, right centre Anthony Gelling will miss Sunday’s home game against Catalans after accepting a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle against Wakefield, for which he was sinbinned.

Forsyth is likely to take his spot. Gareth Hewer is referee for Sunday’s match, which kicks-off at 3pm and has been marketed as a family fun day.