Ex-Warriors man taking lead from Andy Murray

Former Wigan prop George Burgess says he will draw encouragement from Andy Murray's successful return to tennis as he strives to save his rugby league career.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 2:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 2:49 pm
George Burgess

The England international was forced to cut short his stint in Super League with Wigan, who agreed to release him 12 months into his three-year contract, after being told he needs to undergo hip resurfacing surgery.

It is the same operation Murray had just over two years ago and Burgess has keenly monitored his progress ever since, insisting he will learn lessons from the experience of the two-times Wimbledon champion.

"He got back to top-flight tennis and he's doing pretty well now," Burgess said. "That's encouraging.

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"He pushed it really hard at the start to race the clock which is something I really don't want to do.

"He got a few problems from it and that's another reason I'd rather give it a good amount of time. He's had 18 months now and he's started to come good."

Still only 28, Burgess has also taken advice from former St Helens full-back Paul Wellens and Ireland and British and Irish Lions forward Sean O'Brien, who both had successful hip resurfacing surgery.

"Paul Wellens is coaching now but says it feels better than when he was playing," said Burgess, who hopes to have the operation in mid-April.

"Sean O'Brien was with the surgeon I'm going with and he says he wishes he'd done it a while back because he was struggling with it for a few years.

"It might be something that propels me for another few years in my career, you never know.

"I still haven't closed the door on playing again but until I get that surgery it's hard to gauge how it's going to feel.

"You've got to put it to the back of your mind and address it in 12 months' time."

By then, the Dewsbury-born Burgess is hoping to have made further inroads into a fledgling acting career.

"When I was a kid I did a few little short films and a few theatre productions which was good fun," he said.

"I really got into it maybe three years ago, doing little bits here and there. I got a good part in a feature film called Locusts where I played a bouncer called Ivan and really enjoyed it.

"It sort of lit a fuse and I got chance to play a part in a big feature film at Fox Studios before I came to England. It's a movie called Ascendant which is just coming out now.

"I play a Russian heavy, not a lot of talking, more of a physical role which was cool.

"You've got to accept you play those stereotype roles to begin with but hopefully you can break away and do something different when you get a bit of experience behind you.

"Moving over here, I had plans to do more but it's been hard for that sector through the pandemic. Hopefully I can continue with some more at the end of this year in Sydney.

"At the minute it's a hobby but, if you get some good roles, it can be a job as well. I'm just enjoying doing it at the minute."

George has also started a fashion business with twin Tom and older brothers Sam and Luke called 4B who are exploring the idea of setting up training camps for youngsters.

If all that sounds like retirement, Burgess has a word of warning for those writing off his rugby league career.

Eighteenth man for the Grand Final in November, Burgess admits it was frustrating that Wigan and Super League fans never got to see the best of him but he finishes on a defiant note.

"You never know," he said. "It's not finished until it's finished, there could be another chapter in Super League before the story is finished."