Warrington Wolves’ new boss Sam Burgess insists he hasn’t joined the club ‘to blow the place up’, but has opened up on the challenges that await him in his new role, picking out the ‘biggest’ of them all.
Dewsbury-born NRL legend Burgess landed back in the UK earlier this month, and next week will meet some of his players for the first time as pre-season begins.
Turning 35 in December, the Great Britain and England icon will be Super League‘s youngest chief in 2024 as he takes on his first-ever head coach role in a professional environment.
He inherits a team who flew out of the blocks in the season just gone, but slumped midway and struggled to get into the play-offs, eventually exiting at the first hurdle of those play-offs with a narrow defeat at St Helens.
Sam Burgess highlights ‘biggest challenge’ he faces at Warrington Wolves
Speaking to the media on Monday morning at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Burgess delved into the issues he needs to put right, saying: “I think the biggest challenge is internally, things that we can do as a team that need to be better, and it’s not huge or drastic changes.
“The back end of the season, the last six games, you saw plenty of spirit and fight. We just have to tighten up some technical things over the next few months.
“It’s not drastic changes that are needed, I’m not coming here to blow this place up. I’m coming here to make them better and hopefully I’ll be a great sounding board and a leading voice.
“I’m confident in the squad, I think we’ve got a great squad.”
No silverware target set for Wolf pack by new head coach Slammin’ Sam Burgess
The 2014 NRL Grand Final winner succeeds Daryl Powell in the HJ hotseat, a man who was appointed ahead of the 2022 campaign with lofty targets, but departed having won less than half of his 54 games in charge.
Both permanent Wire head coaches before that though – Steve Price & Tony Smith – won more than 60% of their 418 combined games, with four Challenge Cups, two League Leaders’ Shields and four Grand Final appearances between them.
Burgess didn’t make any bold statements about targeting silverware, opting to take a more open approach when asked what success would look like for him.
The 34-year-old said: “Success can be measured in a million different ways. If this place is in a better position comparing when I arrived to when I eventually move on, that’s success to me.
“It’s a good question and one which I’ll probably revisit in a couple of years time.”