Joe Burgess to leave Wigan for NRL

Wigan Warriors have confirmed that winger Joe Burgess will be leaving the club at the end of the 2015 season.

The player has signed a deal with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL, starting in 2016.

“Thank you for all the messages, I have signed for Sydney Roosters and I’m very grateful for the lads, coaching staff and the club for being so supportive,” Burgess told his club’s official website.

“It was a hard decision as I’ve grown up being a lifelong Wigan fan but I didn’t want miss the opportunity.

“I’m going to try my hardest to help the team win every trophy before I do go, thanks again.”

Wigan’s rugby general manager and director Kris Radlinski admitted that the staff at the club would be sad to see Burgess leave.

“Joe won’t be here next year, which is a sad one for us all. We did all we could, and started conversations about a year ago, when he scored four tries against Leigh,” he said.

“After many discussions it was clear to me that Joe had made his mind up. I said ‘do you want me to put Wigan’s best possible offer to you?’ He said ‘No, I want the Sydney lifestyle and to try the NRL‘.

“It’s a big step for him and I admire his confidence, but it is a blow for us.  He is totally committed this year and he won’t let us down.

“We wish him all the best in the NRL. Shaun Wane and I are still very happy with the options we have in the squad with Josh Charnley and Dom Manfredi along with players like Lewis Tierney, Ryan Hampshire and Oliver Gildart all looking set for game time in 2015.”

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan reassured supporters that more young talent was set to appear at the club over the next couple of seasons.

“It is disappointing to lose a talented young player but as Shaun Wane has proven in recent years, no one is irreplaceable,” he said.

“The Wigan club has a strong succession plan in place and we will look to utilise that to ensure a seamless transition when Joe departs.

“Joe leaves with our best wishes and the door certainly remains open for him to return to us just as Joel Tomkins and Lee Mossop have in the past year.”

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