Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Photo Sky Sports
Former England rugby union international Luther Burrell played his first full game of Super League rugby league last week, when he turned out in the centres for Warrington Wolves.
Although the Wolves lost to St Helens by 30-12 scoreline, Burrell did well enough.
His opportunities in attack were somewhat limited, but he certainly defended well for most of the game.
Warrington also tried to use him in attack by kicking high across the field towards him and winger Jake Mamo, something which will be interesting to look out for in future.
The ex-Northampton Saints man certainly did not look out of place. He knew how to react to events, and looked to have understood his defensive responsibilities too.
“I’m not alien to the sport, I grew up around it,” he told reporters after the game.
“But playing at the highest level, you’ve got to learn the tricks of the trade.
“I’ve got a little bit of technical stuff to keep working on, but I’m enjoying my time here and the lads have been great.
“I need to be playing and I’ll keep working hard and keep enjoying myself and keep turning up with a smile on my face.”
His attitude and body language were very positive, and he certainly looked to have been full accepted as part of the group.
Wire coach Steve Price was certainly happy with the way that the centre played.
“It was a real solid hit-out from Luther,” he said.
“I’ve said from day one, he’s going to make mistakes along the way. It’s part of his learning. He’s only going to get better and better, especially with a full pre-season behind him.”
Whether Burrell did enough to gain a place in the Wire squad for Wembley is another matter, especially given how many injured players might return to action before the Cup final.
But the 31-year-old certainly showed that he has enough potential to make a name for himself in Super League.
It will be interesting to see him in action next season, when he has had the benefit of a proper pre-season.
But an accurate assessment of the player’s current standing in the squad can probably be gleaned from the fact that he has been left out of the Wire squad that travels to Wigan Warriors.
Burrell has work to do, but he showed against Saints that he has the capacity to meet the challenges ahead.