IN the latest of our Squad Depth Analysis pieces, we take a look at Sam Burgess’ options in Warrington Wolves’ creative hub.

And on the surface at least, the new head coach is left with a simple choice…

> Check out our assessment of The Wire's outside back options here


In terms of depth, The Wire’s half-back stocks have reduced compared to last year.

Young half Riley Dean has left the club in order to pursue an opportunity in Australia with NRL club North Queensland Cowboys while Peter Mata’utia – usually a centre but who spent a fair proportion of his time at the club in the halves – has retired upon the expiry of his contract.

That leaves Burgess with three recognised half-backs to choose from in the shape of George Williams, Josh Drinkwater and Leon Hayes.

England captain Williams is a shoo-in at stand-off, leaving a youth versus experience choice between Drinkwater and Hayes to partner him.

His retention of the number seven shirt could be an indicator that, despite coming under fire from supporters for his contributions in 2023, Drinkwater remains favourite to keep the role.

There is no doubt throwing his weight behind Warrington-born academy graduate Hayes despite him only having three Super League appearances under his belt would endear the new head coach to fans, and his move to number 18 shows he is very much in Burgess’ thoughts.

The winner of that battle will not be firmed up until the later stages of pre-season, but at the very least expect Hayes to feature more prominently in 2024.

Warrington Guardian: George Williams is a shoo-in, but who will partner him in the halves?George Williams is a shoo-in, but who will partner him in the halves? (Image: Warrington Wolves)


Sam Powell’s arrival from Wigan Warriors mainly bolsters the hooking role, but could also provide cover in the halves as and when required.

He first made his breakthrough into the Warriors side as a half-back before transitioning into a full-time number nine, and he has not started a game in the halves since the 2018 season.

Stefan Ratchford can also be used as halves cover given his versatility, giving Burgess options if things suddenly become stretched.

Warrington Guardian: New signing Sam Powell could provide half-back cover if neededNew signing Sam Powell could provide half-back cover if needed (Image: