George Burgess was a major signing for the Wigan Warriors but unfortunately injuries and other problems meant that it was a signing that never lived up to its full potential.
Speaking on James Graham’s The Bye Round podcast, Burgess opened up on the move:
“I’d signed with Wigan whilst I was suspended, pretty much no NRL club was going near me and I’d come to terms with the fact.
“I’ve always wanted to go and play Super League and Wigan was a great opportunity. It’s a good club and it was a good contract but I just probably wasn’t ready for it mentally, I was still in this bad place.
“It would have been nice to come back to Souths but I’ve no regrets.”
When asked if he got help to deal with his mental battles at the time, he said:
“I definitely should have. I sat on it for so long and it manifested in different ways.
“I dealt with it through drinking, drugs and gambling and all those things were left untreated for such a long time and that’s ultimately led me to using it as a coping mechanism.
“I was going it in England and doing it when I got back and then whenever anything went wrong in my life, that’s what I’d turn to rather than seeking help.
“I did finally get some help in the end which was great and I still am. I’m still on the road to recovery which is positive, and hopefully can affect other people to get help as well.”
This led Burgess to speak on the overall importance of mental health in sport:
“That first connection is so hard to make and I don’t know how we can make that easier and more seamless.
“There’s a lot that clubs do now that they didn’t do ten years ago which is great. We’re making it okay and we can talk about things and removing that stigma.
“It’s been around the entirety of rugby league, and men in sport in general, it’s been around far too long so I think we’re definitely taking steps but it’s still a long way to go.”