SAM Burgess had the first real chance to get his message across to the general public on Monday afternoon by hosting his first press conference as Warrington Wolves head coach.

Written and broadcast media were present to pose questions to the South Sydney Rabbitohs and England legend as he takes on his first ever top-flight head coaching role, with the press conference coming exactly four years to the day since his injury-enforced retirement from playing.

> Read some of what Sam Burgess had to say at his press conference here

Check out video highlights here

Our Warrington Wolves reporter Matt Turner was in the room and assesses some of the takeaways that emerged from what was said...

A desire to avoid “The Sam Burgess Show”

Of course, there will be a huge amount of interest in how Burgess does in his first top-grade head coaching role on both sides of the globe.

Given his legendary status in the game, that is to be expected. Whether his time at Warrington turns out to be successful or not, he will likely remain “the story” or at least a large part of it.

However, one message he was keen to get across was that, above all else, he is simply a head coach and that while he will play a key role in any success the team has during his time in charge, it is ultimately the players who will hold sway with their actions on the field.

In Burgess, there was the distinct sense of somebody who wanted to get the pageantry associated with an incoming head coach out of the way so he can get on with the real reason he’s here – working with his squad, making his mark and repaying the faith shown in him by The Wire.

Warrington Guardian: Burgess with Wire chairman Stuart MiddletonBurgess with Wire chairman Stuart Middleton (Image: Warrington Wolves)

The squad is pretty much in place and everyone will get a chance

Having agreed to become head coach in August, the squad Burgess inherits is largely one put together by predecessor Daryl Powell, with plenty of recruitment and retention decisions already made.

He has still managed to make something of a mark, with the likes of Rodrick Tai, Wesley Bruines and Zane Musgrove signed under his watch while Jordy Crowther’s short-term deal was made permanent.

Burgess did not completely rule out further recruitment, but it seems the major work is done for this year.

That may not come as a total surprise as, particularly in the overseas market, players would have to leave before anymore can join, but it appears there will be a large amount of second chances being given.

He mentions a “clean slate” for every player, with the pre-season giving them the opportunity to elevate themselves into his first-choice 17.

Warrington Guardian: Jordy Crowther joined on a short-term deal under Daryl Powell but Burgess helped turn the move into a longer-term oneJordy Crowther joined on a short-term deal under Daryl Powell but Burgess helped turn the move into a longer-term one (Image: Mike Boden)

Style of play open to change

“What does a Sam Burgess-coached rugby league team look like?” was among the questions posed to Warrington’s new head coach.

A natural thing to ask of someone taking over the team, but his answer suggested that while he has ideas, there is some scope for compromise.

“My idea might not fit with what this team wants to play like, so we have to find a middle ground,” were his exact words.

That can be interpreted in many different ways depending on your point of view, but it does seem as though the new coach will be adapting to his players rather than the other way round.

Big self-belief but no big promises

“Warrington deserves better” was one of the more eyebrow-raising quotes to emerge from this press conference, referencing the disillusionment around the club and town for large swathes of Powell’s time in charge.

However, that was about as bullish as it got. There were no predictably bold soundbites about “getting the club back to where it belongs” in terms of challenging for trophies or bridging the gap to Super League’s big boys.

Indeed, when asked what would constitute a successful spell in charge, Burgess set himself the target of leaving the club in a better place than it is now.

What he clearly does not lack, however, is self-belief. While he may collect advice from the plethora of contacts he has within the game, he will do this job his own way.

Youth and community a focus

A big part of Burgess’ aforementioned target of leaving the club in a better place will surely be the maintenance and growth of the pathway for the club’s younger players into the first team.

His dropping-in on the academy side during their tour of Australia – a move we’re told was down completely of his own volition – shows he is keen to keep tabs on them and during his press conference, he acknowledged the talent within the youth system currently.

The likes of Leon Hayes, Adam Holroyd and Lucas Green are probably next in line for sustained breakthroughs while of the current under-18 crop, there is excitement aplenty about full-back Cai Taylor-Wray, athletic centre Arron Lindop and towering prop Thomas McKinney among others.

Do not be surprised to see those three and maybe more make first-team bows under Burgess, who also referenced a great desire to connect with and embed himself in the local community.

He spoke of a community aspect to his side’s pre-season schedule and strengthening existing relationships – a bare minimum requirement, some would say, but it has been a commitment that has fluctuated too much of late.

Warrington Guardian: Burgess meets Wire's academy players in Sydney before heading to EnglandBurgess meets Wire's academy players in Sydney before heading to England (Image: Contributed)