JOE Burgess will leave Wigan at the end of the year to move to the NRL, it has been confirmed.
Rugby manager Kris Radlinski said his pending departure - which was widely-expected - was “a sad one for us all”.
But the disappointment was soothed by news halfback Sam Powell and young prop Ryan Sutton had agreed new four-year deals.
And in a potential further boost, Radlinski revealed the Warriors are in talks with Dan Sarginson, Josh Charnley, Anthony Gelling and Ryan Hampshire about new, long-term deals.
Winger Burgess - a sensation throughout 2014 - has been linked with Sydney Roosters since last October, and his exit will not come as a shock.
Radlinski said Wigan did “all we could” to retain the 20-year-old, who was lured by the Australian lifestyle.
“Joe won’t be here next year, which is a sad one for us all,” he explained. “We did all we could, and started conversations about a year ago, when he scored four tries against Leigh.
“About halfway through the year I said, ‘Do you want us to put our best offer to you?’
“He said he wanted the Sydney lifestyle. It’s a big step - but he is totally committed this year and he won’t let us down.”
Powell was attracting interest from the Roosters before he signed his extension.
Sutton’s new deal was signed last night, just before a fans’ forum at the DW Stadium in which chairman Ian Lenagan also revealed the club lost nearly £500,000 last year - and outlined the plans for the future.