Luther Burrell was officially unveiled as a Warrington Wolves player in front of the media at The Halliwell Jones Stadium today. Hear what our new number 28 had to say following his cross-code switch from Rugby Union.
The game is constantly evolving; I’ve always followed Rugby League throughout my Union career. It’s constantly speeding up and the players are better athletes. They are stronger, quicker, more explosive and more skilful. It’s a very exciting chapter for me to be moving into Rugby League.
I had my first week last week of full training so I’m slowly trying to integrate myself as best as possible, meet the lads and sitting down with the coaches and understanding the structures. It’s never going to be an easy challenge coming in halfway through a season. I have to pick up on plays and structures a lot quicker. I’m going to have a few classroom lessons and try and hit the ground running!
In Union they are starting to use a lot of similar traits. A lot of the moves as a centre in the backs are based on League structures – the plays out the back and the hard line runners. If you were to watch a game of Rugby Union now you would see a lot of that especially in your big teams such as Saracens. There is a lot of learning to be had in Union from League. For me I have to really try and integrate myself as quickly as possible.
The perception of League in Union is a good one. I’ve had players such as Danny Care text me seeing if anyone wants a half back who can pull some strings! Hopefully I can open that door and create that bridge for more players to come over in the future. I think there will be a small percentage that could cross that bridge and make that change.
I can’t lie and say I’ve not thought about playing for England in Rugby League but you have to consider what it takes to get there. I’ve been fortunate enough to play Union for England and I know exactly what it takes to get there and it’s no different in League. For me I have to work hard and first and foremost I have to try and get myself in this team. There are some great players. I am going to have to work hard, I know what it’s going to take so if I play well in this team then who knows what can happen but my priority right now is trying to impress Steve [Price] and the guys and hopefully I can add something to the group.
I grew up in Huddersfield and went to All Saints School so I grew up with Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe and then my time at Leeds, Kallum Watkins. They couldn’t believe it and all were like ‘no way’ when it was first announced. They have been really supportive. At the moment everyone is supporting me but I’m sure once I get on the field I will have a target on my head, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve been targeted in Union. I know what my strengths are, if I’m a target then I’m a target – it can work in my favour.
You have to be fitter to play League than Union. It’s a different kind of fitness as well – shorter bursts, more explosive, a lot of wrestling and a lot of up downs. You have to be fitter and lighter. In Union you have a lot more stoppages. With the stop clock in League now the scrums are a lot shorter, the drop out times are a lot shorter, so the rest time/recovery time is pretty much nonexistent now so you have to be a lot fitter.
Check out Luther Burrell’s first training session at the club.