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Super League Warrington Wolves

Wolves sign former RU international Burrell

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Warrington Wolves have today confirmed that they will sign former England rugby union international centre Luther Burrell on a deal until 2021, joining this summer following the culmination of the rugby union season.

31-year-old Burrell currently plays for Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership and has fifteen England caps to his name, the last of which coming in 2016. Rumours emerged suggesting that the powerhouse centre could switch codes to league late last week and he becomes the latest big signing for Warrington following the recent acquisition of Blake Austin and the signature of Gareth Widdop from the start of next season.

The Huddersfield-born player initially played rugby league as a youngster, playing for his hometown team at under-14 and under-15 level prior to embarking on a rugby union career with Huddersfield RUFC before joining Leeds Carnegie – now Yorkshire Carnegie. Burrell has spent his entire professional career in union with over 200 senior appearances to his name but, after signing for Warrington, he couldn’t hide his excitement at the challenge that awaits him.

“I’m buzzing to get involved with rugby league and the Super League,” said Burrell. “My background is predominantly in Rugby League as I grew up in the north, in Huddersfield, surrounded by the sport and playing it at school,” he added. Steve Price, his soon-to-be head coach at the Wolves, was also delighted after signing the former England international. “He’s a quality signing, being a former England International who has played at the highest level in rugby union,” the Australian said. “He has still got a number of games left this season with Northampton, once that season is completed we look forward to getting him here and involved in our team”.

With Warrington already having two wins in as many matches to their name in the 2019 Betfred Super League season, it is no surprise that Price is looking forward to adding such a player to his ranks come mid-season and he will be hoping that the addition of Burrell will help The Wire take that final step to silverware after falling short in both showpiece finals in 2018.

It is believed that Burrell is being considered for a range of positions including his union role of centre, a position which could see him line up inside Josh Charnley, another player in the Warrington ranks with union experience after a stint with Sale Sharks. “I know him from his time in Union and I’ve been spoken to him; his message was about how great the club is and from the outside you can see it has aspirations,” Burrell remarked.

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Super League Warrington Wolves

Brown hit with serious-injury

One of Super League’s longest serving players has been hit by a season-ending injury after Warrington Wolves’ Kevin Brown was ruled out following an achilles injury sustained in training.

The 34-year-old ruptured an achilles while preparing for the upcoming Betfred Super League season, one where Warrington were expected to mount a serious challenge for silverware after near misses in both of the showpiece finals in 2018. Now, though, the veteran of hundreds of top-flight appearances will miss the entire campaign – and with it possibly his last Warrington match given that England international Gareth Widdop is set to join the club for 2020.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed but there may be the possibility for the Wolves to claim the same salary cap dispensation as Castleford with Luke Gale after their influential talisman was also ruled out for the whole campaign. Another option for Warrington is to pair Dec Patton with new arrival Blake Austin in the halves for 2019, giving the youngster the regular game-time he has been seeking.

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Super League Warrington Wolves

Widdop to Wire confirmed

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Warrington Wolves have today confirmed the long-speculated rumour of Gareth Widdop’s signature after announcing that the England international will join the club from St George Illawarra Dragons for the 2020 season and beyond.

The move is seen as something of a coup after The Wire completed the signing of one of the world’s best players with Halifax-born Widdop having won the NRL’s stand-off of the year award in 2017 while with Melbourne Storm. During his time with them, he won the Grand Final in 2012 as well as the World Club Challenge in 2013 before moving to St George for the 2014 season.

The 29-year-old has penned a three-year deal with the club and Warrington CEO Karl Fitzpatrick suggested the move was one of the most significant in the Super League era. “This is arguably the biggest signing in the club’s history and quite possibly in the history of Super League. Bringing in this world-class player is a major boost for the sport in this country. In 2020 Gareth will be a fantastic addition to an already formidable squad,” he told the media following the announcement.

Providing Blake Austin – who, along with Widdop, will be the Wolves’ marquee players – remains with the club for 2020, Warrington will have one of the very best half-back pairings in world rugby league – let alone Super League. Widdop has made over 200 NRL appearances with the Storm and the Dragons and it is believed that, while they have allowed him to leave despite being under contract, the Dragons were keen to keep him Down Under.

However, Widdop’s wish to play Super League before his retirement is set to be realised and it will likely be a privilege for rugby league fans on these shores to see him on a weekly basis. The man himself noted the Wolves’ ambition as one of the key reasons behind signing for the Halliwell Jones Stadium club. “I think Warrington, in terms of the club itself, has got a lot of history, is a great team and is run very well. I have a lot of mates in the team and it’s been a top club for a number of years,” he told the media. Widdop further added that his experience at the very top in both the NRL and internationally will stand him in good stead for his time in the UK: “I am hoping I can draw from my leadership and bring that to Warrington. It’s a good team with some great players in the squad already; playing in the halves it’s a key position and hopefully I can do my part for the team whatever that might be.”

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Super League Warrington Wolves

Price extends Wolves stay

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Warrington Wolves’ head coach Steve Price has signed a two-year extension to his deal with the club which will see him stay with The Wire until the end of the 2021 campaign.

Price took control of Warrington ahead of the 2018 campaign after Tony Smith’s reign ended with a disappointing 2017 season which saw the club having to fight for their Super League survival in The Qualifiers. Formerly assistant coach at Cronulla, 40-year-old Price guided Warrington to both showpiece finals in 2018 but ended on the losing side to Catalans and Wigan in the Challenge Cup and Grand Finals respectively.

Nevertheless, the Australian improved the team’s forwards vastly and some are already suggesting that 2019 may finally the The Wolves’ year. “I love being part of Warrington and my wife and kids are happy and settled here,” Price told the club’s official websiteCommitted to the future of Warrington, the head coach is now looking to add trophies, explaining “it’s a fantastic club with great people involved, so I wasn’t going anywhere. I came here for a reason, to get that silverware. I honestly feel we can make a difference with the strength of our playing group and I’m really looking forward to 2019.”

Warrington kick off their Super League campaign against Leeds Rhinos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on February 2nd.