IT has not taken Luther Burrell long to realise how much The Wire means to the people of Warrington.

Before started training with the club last week following his cross-code switch from rugby union outfit Northampton Saints, the 31-year-old relocated his family to Great Sankey.

With his base now established, the 15-man code international can now fully embark on his new adventure in rugby league.

Having attended Saturday’s game against Catalans Dragons, he has already had a brief taste of the town’s relationship with its team.

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“I’ve been driving through town and I can see all the Wire banners and flags,” he said.

“Even though I haven’t stepped out there yet, I feel proud to be a part of that.

“I can’t wait to get myself out there now and integrate myself with the crowd.

“It’s been a great first full week. I had my first taste of a live game on Saturday watching the boys do the job against Catalans.

“The atmosphere was great. It’s so different to union in terms of a live product.

“You get the theme tunes when we score, the stopwatch when the shot clock is one and things like that.

“The fans were super passionate – a few of them collared me after the game and made me feel very welcome so I can’t thank them enough for that.

“The lads have been class – I’ve been getting a bit of stick but at least they’re talking to me! It means they must like me, which is alright.

“It’s been hard work – I’ve been getting flogged to get some miles in my legs.

“This time last year I was starting pre-season, that’s how long I’ve been going. This change feels really refreshing.”

> Burrell meets the media

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The 13-man game is not completely alien to The Wire’s new 6ft 3in, 17-stone colossus – it was a game he grew up playing in Huddersfield before being swept up by the Leeds Carnegie academy.

Despite a successful union career that has seen him represent England 15 times, there was always an itch he felt he had to scratch.

“When I was sat watching Super League games on a Friday night, it really excited me.

“Come retirement, I don’t want any regrets.

“I haven’t left union fulfilled – not by any stretch of the imagination. I want to keep bettering myself.

“This is an opportunity I wanted to take with both hands.

“We used a lot of rugby league structures within the England set-up and at club level. I was always surrounded by the game.

“It’s the little things like playing the ball and moving your feet defensively.

“It’s all about upper-body hits to slow the ball down and wrestling – those are all things that are part of my game anyway.

“Thankfully, it’s not going to be too alien to me but I have got a lot of learning to do.

“It is refreshing and it keeps my adrenaline going.”

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Burrell in action for Northampton Saints. Picture by Roberto Payne/Northampton Saints

With his Wolves contract officially starting on July 1, the earliest Burrell could make his debut is the trip to London Broncos on July 6.

In the meantime, Steve Price and his coaching staff are intensively putting him through his paces in order to get him up to speed.

Price plans to use Burrell as a centre – the position he played in union – meaning he will be competing with the likes of Toby King, Bryson Goodwin and Ryan Atkins for a spot in the Wire side.

Whenever the time comes, the former Sale Sharks man is determined he will be ready.

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“I need to get these miles in my legs – they’re not flogging me for flogging’s sake. It’s a different kind of fitness for me,” he said.

“In rugby union when the weather isn’t the greatest, it becomes a bit of a kicking battle and you do a lot more defending than attacking.

“That’s where the fitness aspect of rugby league will get involved for me. I’m going to have more tackles and involvements.

“No matter the conditions, they still play football which is very exciting for me.

“I’m still going to have my hands on the ball and tackling people which is ultimately what you want as a rugby player.

“I’m going to be sitting down with Briersy (assistant coach Lee Briers) and wrap up the offensive side of the game as quickly as possible.

“I’ll be out on the field doing defensive work and I’ll still be doing my conditioning and stuff like that.

“I’m taking it day by day and session by session. Every day I’ll be closer to making my debut.”

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