Greek star hoping to fire up the Wire

Greek mythology is littered with heroes coming back from the abyss.

And Super League may now have one of its own, with Warrington Wolves hoping the signing of Greek international Billy Magoulias from Cronulla Sharks can help propel them to the upper pantheons of the competition.

A Grand Final victory has proved to be their Achilles heel, with victory continuing to elude them, but Magoulias is arriving with the ambition to achieve that seemingly Herculean task.

“I can’t wait to join,” he said.

“I love a challenge and I don’t shy away from it. I don’t have an issue getting out of my comfort zone and Warrington Wolves are a perfect opportunity for me.

“I’m looking to progress my game as well as the club – which hasn’t been where it wants to be in terms of the Grand Final. That’s where I want to be and winning trophies.”

Magoulias’ style of play has been noted by new Wolves coach Daryl Powell, who arrives from 2017-beaten Grand Finalists Castleford Tigers.

The Australian-born loose forward operates in a ball-playing role, often promoting the ball and searching for a pass, complementing Powell’s investment of the ‘Classy Cas’ brand into the Wolves.

“Billy has the right qualities as a ball-player,” Powell added.

“[He can help us] implement the brand of rugby we’re going to strive to achieve.

“From my conversations with him, I know he’s excited by the challenge of moving to the UK and showcasing his abilities in Super League.”

Magoulias arrives with experience of serving up defining moments in finals, a trait that Powell will hope he can activate once again.

The 24-year-old set up the winning try for Newtown Jets, in the 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW final victory over Wentworthville Magpies, after the game went into extra time.

That year saw him rewarded with a place in the Team of the Year and an NRL debut for the Sharks, while he also set up another winning try – this time in the NRL State Championship final against Burleigh Bears.

“I have that big-game experience, knowing that you can come up against those big-name players in pressure moments helps your confidence,” he added.

“It does make a difference. I played at Newtown Jets and had a lot of success there. They were one of the foundation clubs of the NSW Cup and they developed me a lot.

“In England, you do get pushed in quite early, but we have the reserve-grade system to develop you. There does come a point where you start to find the reserve grade easier and then you get more comfortable playing.”

He may have been limited to just 17 games for the Sharks in the NRL, attempting to take the berth occupied by Paul Gallen in 2019, but Magoulias also comes with the experience of leading the Greek national team to its first World Cup.

He featured in key World Cup qualifiers against Norway, Scotland and Serbia, as the fledgling nation qualified for their first tournament despite huge political issues surrounding their recognition.

“It’s a massive story because of all the politics going on there and the recognition of who is the actual Greece team and who represents Greece,” Magoulias added.

“It’s quite important to get into the World Cup to give us that recognition. I don’t think that moving forward there will be any issues there.

“They’re trying to develop the game over there and nobody recognises them as a Rugby League playing nation, so to be in the World Cup will help us grow from there. The expectation, now, is that we want to be there every time.”

In a direct contrast to his time as a fringe player at the Sharks, Magoulias was seen as a leading figure in the Greece side. Clearly, he possesses the maturity to lead on the field, and he will look to do so in 2022, both in Super League and at the World Cup.

“It’s strange, because normally you have blokes that are older than you,” he said.

“The blokes from Greece are new to the sport. They look at you like a superstar because they’re just learning the game, and you’re playing in the NRL or Super League.”

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