The next English star to hit NRL shores will arrive with a reputation for the brilliant and the baffling.
Wigan’s Joe Burgess will link up with heavyweights Sydney Roosters at the end of the current Super League season, becoming the latest in a recent rush of overseas stars clamouring to join the world’s premier rugby league competition.
The English imports to enjoy success in the NRL recently have predominantly been of the bruising variety – think Canterbury enforcer James Graham, Wests Tigers hardman Gareth Ellis and South Sydney’s Burgess boys, who are no relation.
The 20-year-old Wigan winger is a tantalising mix of size and speed, and he scored a scintillating try to send Saturday night’s World Club Series clash with Brisbane into extra time.
In a brilliant 80-metre sequence, Burgess gave champion centre Justin Hodges a right-arm fend and sped away before exchanging passes with teammate George Williams to romp past Broncos fullback Jordan Kahu and score.
He was also guilty of making crucial errors, including two turnovers on his own tryline which left coach Shaun Wane far from impressed.
“He just needs to be better at that stuff (turnovers). That’s just not acceptable to me,” Wane said.
“He’s a good player but he needs to be smarter.
“When he lost the ball in contact today he was showing to me he wanted to fight and play the ball quickly and there were hands in and he just needed to calm down a bit.
“He was trying a bit too hard sometimes.”
Wane, meanwhile, insists the move to the Roosters is not weighing on Burgess’s mind as he navigates the current Super League season.
“He’s not an immature kid.
“He’s quite grown up,” Wane said. “I don’t think that’s the case (that he’s getting ahead of himself).
“I don’t think his mind is on Roosters, I definitely don’t think that.
“If he was doing that he’d be going to Workington, playing for the reserves.”