After former Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell’s Warrington Wolves exit, the big question was: who will replace him at the Halliwell Jones.
The appointment was a real shock. The club initially targeted former St Helens coach and Super League Grand Final winner Justin Holbrook but he elected to join Sydney Roosters as assistant instead after his Gold Coast Titans exit.
Thus, the club shocked the world and appointed former Bradford Bulls and South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess who has been working with Souths as assistant.
Perhaps the best British player this century, Burgess is a big name but isn’t an experienced coach so he has divided opinion.
Former Sky commentator Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson has had his say on the Eddie and Stevo podcast:
“Well he’s got the background, doesn’t he? When you think about it, he’s a tremendous player, good enough to actually be selected for England Rugby Union and that’s how adaptable that player has been.
“I suppose in many ways, a lot of people in the UK will be shocked because he hasn’t got a great pedigree in regards to coaching. Now a couple of years ago he coached the Orara Valley Axemen and hey did make the final.
“A lot of people are taking into consideration that he’s been an assistant coach under one man called Wayne Bennett. Now Wayne Bennett made it quite clear when he was going to the Dolphins that he wanted Sam Burgess to become as an assistant coach with him.
“I’ll give Sam his due, he was loyal to South Sydney where he is in a position and still is an assistant coach.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had assistant coaches coming from down under. We have had so many, Eddie, that it’s feasible that Warrington said, well, look, let’s look through the list of former assistant coaches that have made wonderful success in the UK.”
That said, Stevo said Burgess will turn his back on Warrington:
“Well, you’ve got to say it is a stepping stone Eddie. You can’t just say, well, he’s going to become a famous coach down under and he will be coming back to Australia.
“What if he doesn’t become a success at Warrington? I can assure you that the Australian clubs won’t be knocking the door down to sign him up.
“They’ve got to look at the risk and it’s easy to say he’s going to be a success. Matty Johns says he’s going to be a success. There’s only one way we can find out and that we’ll have to wait and see next season.”