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“No, I wouldn’t” – Shaun Wane warns Super League star over dream move

Shaun Wane Matty Nicholson

England head coach Shaun Wane has offered an unexpected warning to Warrington Wolves star Matty Nicholson who is reportedly NRL-bound at the end of the season, with the national team coach suggesting that the forward should remain in Super League.

The NRL is seen as the pinnacle of our sport in terms of the level of competition which is why we see the best English players make the switch down under to test themselves against the very best. That’s been a growing trend of late with forwards Morgan Smithies and Kai Pearce-Paul the latest to do so, both to high degrees of success.

Smithies and Pearce-Paul both left Wigan Warriors at the end of the 2023 season and are having stellar rookie campaigns with Canberra Raiders and Newcastle Knights respectively and it’s widely expected that Nicholson will be joining Smithies at the Raiders from 2025.

Reports down under have suggested that is the case with The Green Machine beating out “four to five” other NRL sides to sign the talented Wire forward but when asked if he approved of the move, Shaun Wane has offered up a surprising answer.

Quiz: Can you name every Super League Young Player of the Year?

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Shaun Wane’s words of wisdom to Matty Nicholson

Matty Nicholson Warrington Wolves

Credit: Imago Images

Wane was speaking to the press after the announcement that the series against Samoa will go ahead at the end of the season whilst also previewing the clash against France at the end of the month on June 29th.

He highlighted a clear focus on youth and that led to a flurry of questions about England’s crop of young stars, Matty Nicholson included, of whom Wane was asked if he “would encourage him to go to the NRL”.

To that, the England boss responded: “No I wouldn’t, I’d encourage him to stay with Warrington and win stuff with Warrington like George did with Wigan.”

George Williams came through the Wigan Warriors ranks and become one of the best halves in Super League, but crucially he also won silverware before making the decision to switch to the NRL. Wane has argued that he’d like to see Nicholson do the same before making the move to the NRL as he referred back to Williams, stating: “He won stuff with us and then went to the NRL so I’d like him to do that.”

“I think that’s quite important for Matty, he’s a good player, no doubt about that, but staying with your club you’ve signed for and winning stuff and then once that’s boxed off you can start looking at the NRL.

“I know it might be a bit controversial but it is genuinely how I feel.”

He also had praise for the most recent English exports, complimenting ex-Wigan duo Kai Pearce-Paul and Morgan Smithies, an expected future teammate of Matty Nicholson, for their NRL exploits.

“They’re both doing great. I’m really pleased for them, they’re both good players. I knew they’d go well and they’ve not surprised me, to be honest. I knew they’d kill it over there.

“They’re going to put their hands up at the end of this year for the Samoan tests.”

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