The latest Burgess to convert to the NRL admits he agonised for months over whether to leave England despite his namesakes’ success Down Under.
But Joe Burgess – no relation to South Sydney’s title-winning siblings – said he now feels sorry for the Wigan teammates he left behind.
Just 21, England winger Burgess may be two weeks into Sydney Roosters pre-season training but has already been touted as a 2016 “force” by the NRL club’s recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
However, Burgess admits he wasn’t so sure when the Roosters first came knocking.
“I always used to enjoy watching the NRL,” Burgess told the Roosters website.
“(But) it took me a few months to decide. I discussed it with my parents.
“And I asked older players (at Wigan) and they said they never got the chance because of wives or kids and I didn’t want to leave it that late.
“I took my chance when I could.”
Burgess first piqued the Roosters’ interest when he scored as a 19-year-old in Wigan’s 2014 World Club Challenge loss to the tri-colours.
Almost 12 months later, the Roosters officially had their man.
They announced in early 2015 they had signed Burgess on a three-year deal, sparking a season to remember for the 195cm, 98kg flyer.
When the curtain finally drew on Burgess’ UK stint in November, it was easy to see why O’Sullivan had described him as “the most outstanding back in England”.
Burgess scored 22 tries to help Wigan make the English Super League (SL) grand final which they lost 22-20 to Leeds.
Overall he crossed 49 times in 55 games for Wigan in three SL seasons.
Burgess also made his international debut, playing in all three Tests in England’s end of year series win over world No.1 New Zealand.
Now he hopes to impress in the NRL.
“They have taken me in as one of their own,” Burgess said.
“It was a big move for me but I couldn’t really turn it down.
“I am stacking up on the factor 50 (sunscreen) at the moment.
“This time of year it is usually snow and mud, it’s a nice change.
“I feel sorry for them (at Wigan).”