NextGen: The Warrington Wolves trialist who has gone from unemployed to Super League prodigy

Drew Darbyshire
Max Wood Warrington Wolves Alamy

Max Wood (right) in action for Warrington Wolves with head coach Sam Burgess (left)

Warrington Wolves prop Max Wood was ‘out of a job’ six months ago, but his hard work and determination has seen him excel in Super League this season.

After coming through the academy at neighbours Wigan Warriors, the 20-year-old was released at the end of last season and his future in the game – or at least at the elite level – looked unclear.

However, Warrington saw something in Wood and gave him the opportunity to join Sam Burgess’ side on a initial six-week trial at the start of pre-season, and another six-week trial followed after dropping some weight and proving his fitness. He impressed so much so that he was rewarded with a one-year contract in the first team, with the Super League club holding an option for a further year.

“He’s a great young man,” Burgess said of Wood, who played his junior rugby for Rochdale Mayfield.

“He came on a six-week trial initially in November and he will probably tell you himself that he was a bit overweight.

“We offered him an opportunity to get better and gave him some targets and by Christmas time he had hit those targets. I think he dropped about seven or eight kilos and he got a bit fitter, and then we gave him another six weeks after Christmas, dropping another five or six kilos and then started to look something like a rugby player.”

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Bury-born Wood was relatively unknown to Warrington fans when he arrived, having not made his first team at Wigan, with his only senior appearance prior to 2024 coming in the colours of Midlands Hurricanes last year whilst on loan with the League 1 outfit.

But the Wire faithful certainly know who he is now. Burgess rewarded Wood for his efforts with his Warrington debut in a 36-10 win over Hull FC in Round Two, and he has since gone on to play nine games in primrose and blue whilst enjoying time on loan in the Championship with Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings.

“He’s actually a natural rugby player, he’s a really smart player,” Burgess added. “He’s just figured out what works for him now in his preparation.

“I think he can really add something to the team so he was a great little find but he’s worked really hard.

“I think he’s a good story for a lot of young men. Things can get away from them, but if you are willing to get the work done there’s always an opportunity there and I’d like to think that’s what we do now at this club.

“If you do the right stuff and your habits are good away from the game and your practice is good, then you’ll get an opportunity at some point and Max is a good example of that.

“He was out of a job six months ago and I think he’s played around 10 games this year, so he’s a good story.

“He’s very powerful young man. He can do a backflip from a standing start! He’s got a really powerful base, so he’s a good asset.”

Player profile

Name: Max Wood

Date of birth: 28/06/2004

Position: Prop

Senior debut: Hull FC (H), 23/02/2024

Honours: Lancashire Under-21s

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