WIGAN are hoping they can fend off NRL interest in winger Joe Burgess.
The 20-year-old seems increasingly likely to switch to the Sydney Roosters at the end of next season.
Reports elsewhere that Wests Tigers are also interested in the young star have emerged but Roosters are firming as the favourites.
Burgess is part of England’s Four Nations squad, which flew out to Brisbane on Tuesday.
And many fans may feel frustrated that Burgess will now spend the next month working with England coach Steve McNamara – the Roosters assistant boss.
He is under contract at Wigan for 2015 and the club will pull out all the stops to keep him, but some fear he has his mind made up.
The academy product, who played his amateur rugby league for the Rose Bridge club, was named Wigan’s young player of the year for 2014, after a superb return of 25 tries in his 27 appearances for the first team.
His form has seen him emerge as a firm fans’ favourite and an ideal replacement for Pat Richards, who left the DW Stadium at the end of the 2013 to return to Wests, one of the clubs interested in the young star.
But when asked about his contract situation Burgess (right) remained tight-lipped, and said: “My agent handles it all.”
Meanwhile, chairman Ian Lenagan reckons Kris Radlinski’s appointment to a place on the board of directors will strengthen Wigan.
The Evening Post revealed on Tuesday that he had accepted a place alongside Lenagan and non-executive director Winston Higham on the board.
He said: “The people who run this club are of vital importance and we all know Shaun’s role in terms of the rugby side of things.
“But perhaps people are not quite as aware, from a director’s view, how important having a strong board of directors is. We are delighted to announce the appointment of one of us to be a director of this company.
“He has contributed enormously over this last five years, Kris Radlinski is a very special man indeed.
“Shaun Wane and I are very well aware of how Kris has come on in the last five years from being a full back to the prop that holds up Wigan in many respects, and I am delighted to have him with us.”
Four Warriors youngsters have been names in the England Academy squad to face the Australian Schoolboys this autumn.
St Pat’s trio Nick Gregson, Oliver Gildart and Jake Shorrocks are joined by Ince Rose Bridge’s Luke Waterworth.
The two-game series kicks-off at Leigh Sports Village on December 6 but, prior to the England Tests, the Australian side will face Wigan’s academy at the Solid Strip Community Stadium, Orrell on November 29, kick-off 12 noon.