Matty Nicholson rise charted as Warrington Wolves’ tacking machine earns Sam Burgess praise

Drew Darbyshire
Matty Nicholson Warrington Wolves Alamy

Matty Nicholson (left) in action for Warrington Wolves in 2024

Despite still only being 20 years of age, Matty Nicholson has quickly developed into a key member of Warrington Wolves’ forward pack.

The Halifax-born back-rower has made 32 appearances for the Wire since arriving from rivals Wigan Warriors midway through the 2022 season, earning his England debut in last year’s 64-0 win over France in the mid-season test at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

And despite having a disrupted pre-season due to injury, Nicholson has emerged as a key player amongst Sam Burgess pack this year, with his tenacious defensive work coming to the fore.

The Yorkshireman is averaging 38 tackles per game in Super League, with an incredible 150 tackles made in his last three outings in primrose and blue.

But Nicholson is just as impressive with the ball in hand, too. He is averaging 8.39 metres per carry thus far in 2024..

“Is he 20 years old?!” Burgess laughed in somewhat disbelief when Love Rugby League popped him a question about Nicholson’s impressive performances considering his youthful age. “Sometimes he moves around like he is a bit older than 20, that’s all!

“He’s a good player. He had a disrupted pre-season with injury, but he is a fit guy and he has really taken a bit of ownership on his role which has been good.

“He is evolving, I didn’t realise he had made that many tackles. I know he’s in the games, he’s a pretty consistent player.”

“I’ve been impressed with his consistency.. He has got a bit to go but I think he’s only played around 30/35 games, so he’s going to be a great player but we’ve just got to make sure we don’t push him too hard, too early.”

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Matty Nicholson a ‘valuable asset’ to the team, says Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess

Nicholson, who played his junior rugby at Siddal, is currently flourishing in the back-row for Warrington but is also comfortable playing at loose forward.

When asked about where he sees Nicholson’s long-term position, Burgess told Love Rugby League: “I don’t know. I think he grew up playing in the middle, obviously he finds himself on the edge now, but I think he brings value in both areas.

“In today’s game it’s a valuable asset to be able to play both. I think the edge generally keeps you out of the majority of traffic, but judging by the stats he’s doing a fair bit of work. He’s a valuable asset to the team so we’re glad he is finding a bit of form.”

Next up for Nicholson and Warrington is a clash with Hull KR in Round 11 of Super League at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday night.

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