James Graham says Sam Burgess could save Super League

Warrington Wolves have shocked everyone by announcing that Sam Burgess will replace former Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell in the Halliwell Jones hot seat.

Powell joined the club in 2022 and in his first struggled as he began a rebuild of the club.

The Wolves finished 11th in the league and there was at one stage a genuine concern they could be relegated.

This year they started with eight wins but have shown relegation form since and thus they parted company with Powell and made a bold and divisive appointment in Burgess.

Now St Helens legend James Graham has had his say on the Bye Round:

“Absolutely huge. I can’t understate just how big this is for the Super League to get one of the brightest up and coming coaches, an English coach as well.

“I just love this man’s drive. I spoke to him on the phone a couple of days ago, just as it, before it was announced and the drive in this person is insane in what Sam is willing to do.

“Let’s look back at his career. Came over here as a 20 year old, shows drive, shows ambition. Then he makes a name for himself here, dominates as a young English kid, which is incredibly difficult to do, wins the Grand Final.

“But before that, he backed himself to go to rugby union, not entirely sure what happened there, but he made the English test team from what I’m seeing. I thought he did really well. That’s drive, that’s ambition.

“Then he thinks, right, I’ve got to make it as a coach. Well, I’m just going to go around the assistant jobs or whatever but no, I’m gonna go and get my own team. He went and coached the Axe Men in group seven in Coffs Harbour, that’s drive and that’s ambition That’s willing to go above and beyond and then now he’s taken up this role at Warrington.”

He even thinks fans could be worried:

“For me as a St Helens fan, like I’m sh**ting myself because I hate Warrington abd I’m really worried that he’s going to deliver them a premiership and St. Helens fans won’t be able to sing ‘It’s Always Your Year’ ay them anymore because it might actually be with him going there. So watch out for that.

“I’m delighted for him and I think he’ll go over there, be great for that experience. I don’t think it’ll be long before we see him in an NRL coaching position. It’s quite interesting to look at the contrast between a man like himself and Benji Marshall, who I consider a friend as well.

“His pathway to coaching, there’s not one pathway, there’s no cookie cutter approach, there’s different ways you can go to become an NRL coach. Sam’s taking on a big job over there, but he’s an ambitious person, this will not phase him.”

On the topic of whether Burgess can save Super League, he believes he is what Super League needs:

“Well, it’s going to generate headlines and it already has.

“It’s going to generate interest, you know, which is exactly what the Super League needs, because, you know, unfortunately, it’s just getting, obviously the sporting landscape, the sporting stage is saturated at the moment.

“Many other sports looking to globalize go into that British market, and unfortunately, Rugby League is stuck to the M62 corridor on the north of England for a lot of it.

“Obviously you’ve got representation in Catalans who are doing so well, but it needs to grow because it’s getting swamped and someone like Sam Burgess just coming in is massive.”