Burgess: It’s like I’ve never been away

Joe Burgess
Joe Burgess
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Joe Burgess says he feels like he is “home” after returning to Wigan duty.

The winger cut short his NRL adventure after one season to rejoin his hometown club for the 2017 campaign.

Everything happens for a reason - I don’t regret going, and I don’t regret coming back

Joe Burgess

Burgess reported back to training at Orrell on Monday for ‘optional’ training ahead of the start of pre-season next week.

And the 22-year-old said: “It doesn’t feel like I’ve been away.

“Obviously little things have changed and there are one or two new blokes, but it feels like I’m home.

“I loved my time in the NRL but this feels right, and I’m looking forward to it now.

“I’ll be working hard to try and earn a spot, just because I have the No.5 shirt doesn’t mean I’ll get in - I have to prove it.”

Burgess, 22, debuted for Wigan in 2013 and established himself the following year as Pat Richards’ replacement. He left at the end of 2015 to join Sydney Roosters but struggled to make the team, and switched to Michael Maguire’s Souths - after agreeing a deal to return to Wigan.

Despite his late-season success at the Rabbitohs, he has no regrets about cutting short his NRL career and never considered trying to renege on his deal to return to Wigan.

“As soon as I make a decision that’s it,” said Burgess, who made his England debut a year ago. “It was all about timing - I signed back for Wigan, and a few days later I signed with Souths.

“Everything happens for a reason - I don’t regret going, and I don’t regret coming back.

“And after watching the Grand Final, I’m jealous! I’m dying to get a winner’s ring myself now.”

Burgess thought he would need a post-season hernia operation but the problem has now been treated without surgery. “I need bit of rehab, but I’ll be good for the start of the season,” he added.