New Warrington Wolves signing gives insight into Sam Burgess coaching philosophy: ‘What he demanded as a leader is going to transfer into his coaching’

Ben Olawumi
Sam Burgess, Zane Musgrove

Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess & new recruit Zane Musgrove - Photos: Warrington Wolves

Overseas recruit Zane Musgrove makes no secret of why he’s joined Warrington Wolves – he wants to win a Super League Grand Final alongside former team-mate turned head coach Sam Burgess, who he can’t speak highly enough of.

The prop joins Warrington from NRL outfit St George Illawarra Dragons on a two-year deal, one of eight additions made by new Wire boss Burgess in preparation for the upcoming campaign.

One-time Samoa international Musgrove made the move over from Down Under a few weeks ago alongside his family – including a newborn daughter, and has already begun pre-season training with his new colleagues.

In linking up with the Wire, the forward joins a club which has four times before reached a Grand Final, but lost out in each of those, fitting the tagline of ‘always the bridesmaids, never the bride’.

Having played with Burgess at South Sydney Rabbitohs, Musgrove already knows what he’s let himself in for, but couldn’t be more excited as he and his long-time pal try to land the Wolves’ first-ever Old Trafford trophy lift.

Warrington Wolves new boy Zane Musgrove targeting Super League glory: ‘We could do something pretty special’

The Auckland-born ace spoke to the media for the first time earlier this week at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, laying out his ambitions for 2024.

Musgrove said: “Under Sammy, I come over here for one reason and that’s to win. I think he can get the best out of me with the system he’s got in place at the club.

“That’s why I ultimately chose to come to Warrington, sign here and bring my family over. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down when I spoke to Sammy.

“I’m chasing success and wanting to win a comp. This club hasn’t got there yet – they’ve won the Challenge Cup, they haven’t won the big one, but with the system that Sammy is putting in place, I think we could do something pretty special.

“I want to be a part of that.”

Overseas recruit lauds Sam Burgess as he details top-quality management skills already on show from Great Britain legend

Musgrove’s NRL debut – back in 2016 – came alongside Burgess as a fresh-faced 19-year-old as the Rabbitohs thumped Sydney Roosters 42-10.

Eight years on from that, he’ll line up in a Warrington side chosen by the Great Britain and England legend, handed squad number 16. The 27-year-old doesn’t think much has changed about Burgess in the time that’s passed since they played together amongst Australia’s elite, though remains confident that’s a positive thing.

Musgrove added: “I think he’s still the same. He still has a joke and a laugh with the boys, and I think he knows when to switch it on and be serious or switch it off and have a laugh.

“Having played with Sam, it’s good to see him making the transition into coaching. I’d say he always had the characteristics, for sure, but I didn’t know he was going to go into it.

“Obviously the player he was and what he demanded as a leader is going to transfer into his coaching, and I think he’ll do very well. He’s been running the hills with us. It does build that trust.

“He’s still got his running legs, so he loves training and getting amongst all the boys, even in wrestle. We were wrestling today and he got involved! It’s good seeing Sammy being amongst us, it’s been really enjoyable.

“Sammy is Sammy, he’s always himself and he’s not really going to change too much. The boys respect him, I think that’s exactly what you want as a coach, and he’s got it.”

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