Sam Burgess set to be dealt bitter coaching blow at hands of Ricky Stuart and Raiders

The Warrington coach will be desperate to convince Matty Nicholson to change his mind.

Sam Burgess doesn’t lose too many battles when it comes to football. On and off the field, he is a man who generally gets his way. But the Warrington coach looks set for defeat in attempting to talk young gun Matty Nicholson out of throwing it all in at the Wolves and chasing his NRL dream with Canberra.

The Raiders won't say anything official until a deal is done, but they are supremely confident the talented back-rower will next year officially become the club's seventh English recruit in a decade. That's despite the 20-year-old having Burgess in his ear urging him to at least see out the final year of his contract at Warrington.

Sam Burgess and Ricky Stuart in action as coaches.
Sam Burgess and Ricky Stuart. Image: Getty

"I have a really open relationship with the players, and he was very honest with me and I appreciate that," Burgess said of his dealings with Nicholson. "I’m trying to give him the best guidance I can as a coach and as a friend as well.

"He’ll make the right decision at the right time but for now he's enjoying his work. He’s got ambition and I respect that. If he is going to go that way, we’ll send him in the best shape possible and with the most experience possible, but he’s a wonderful player.

"He’s only 30 or 40 games into his career, so he’s relatively young in that respect. He’s learning and getting better every week as well. If he does go, the NRL would be getting a great player and for us, it would be next man up.”

Matty Nicholson in the Super League.
Matty Nicholson celebrates after the Warrington Wolves' win in the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Sam Burgess and Joe Philbin in the Super League.
Sam Burgess with Warrington player Joe Philbin.


Canberra have had great success with their English imports, starting with Josh Hodgson back in 2015. The likes of Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton and Morgan Smithies have followed.

Raiders CEO Don Furner has previously explained how the club had to search for players overseas almost out of necessity. "Traditionally it's hard to get players to move from Sydney so we have been forced to look outside the square," he told Wide World of Sports.

"Ricky (Stuart) knows how the club has operated and that has traditionally been our model. Ricky makes the call on players and he does thorough research on them and he backs his judgement.

"The English boys are all good blokes. Very tough, and they don't necessarily miss the beach and that's one of the things because the bulk of Australians live on the coast, so that's usually a big issue."