George Burgess' burning trophy ambitions with Wigan Warriors

George Burgess pushing the weights
George Burgess pushing the weights

George Burgess says he opted for Wigan because he believes the club is in great shape to win silverware.

The prop, signed from Souths on a marquee deal, had no shortage of offers when he decided to return to Super League.

But he was swayed by the club's new Robin Park facilities and the squad assembled for 2020.

“Wigan have always been a top team, I heard about the new facility and I really want to win trophies – that’s what’s driving me – and I thought here is a great place to do that," he said.

“I think we’re in a great position to contest for silverware.”

The England international has been in Wigan for a month and, though he is training in the cold and arriving home to his wife and three young children when it’s dark, he insists he couldn’t be happier.

“It’s awesome to be back in England, and be back among the north of England folk, it’s great," said the 27-year-old.

“I’ve not lived here for a fair while and it’s nice to be around that.

“I’ve been back over for tours but it always feels like it’s not enough time, so it’s awesome being here and nice to show my young family where their dad is from and a bit about my heritage.

“My wife’s got her hands full while I’m at training, but she likes it – I’ve told her the days get longer!”

Burgess hails from Dewsbury but left these shores to join older brother Sam at Souths when he was still a teenager – and before he had cracked into Super League.

His twin, Thomas, and older sibling Luke later joined him at the Rabbitohs, where he won an NRL title in 2014.

“It’s the first time I’ve been at a club without any of my brothers, its something new for me – it’s good to have my own identity,” he said.

“I always had ambition to play Super League, I grew up watching it, wanting to play it, and doing it when I’m still playing good rugby.”

He already knew some of the players from the England arena, including Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Oliver Gildart. He also played with namesake Joe – no relation – at Souths and crossed paths with Sam Powell as a junior, and has quickly made new mates, including car-sharing partner Chris Hankinson.

He had no shortage of offers when he was considering a return to England earlier this year, and says the quality of Wigan’s squad – and the new facilities at Robin Park – helped sway his decision.

“Training has been a good standard, I’m enjoying the great facilities,” he added.

Burgess is arguably the club’s biggest-name prop recruit since Stuart Fielden was signed in a world record deal to help them batter their way from the threat of relegation in 2006.

Wigan have made use of the marquee player allowance to sign the 27-year-old from Souths, meaning only £150,000 of his deal counts on the salary cap. Jackson Hastings is their other marquee player.